Laura Acosta fondly remembers hunting with her older brother when they were younger, snowboarding in Mammoth and biking together in the Eastern Sierra.
She and Edward Acosta shared a room until she was 9. She looked up to him and jokingly called him “sausage toes” because his feet were chubby. The siblings grew closer when he learned to drive and took her to school each morning.
At 6-feet-6, Edward Acosta played offensive lineman for Hesperia Christian School before graduating from Hesperia High School. He joined the Army in 2008. While abroad, he was still protective of his younger sister, using snarky online messages to shoo away boys he thought were no good.
Then in December, the vehicle Army Spc. Edward J. Acosta was riding in was struck by a roadside bomb in central Afghanistan’s Wardak province, killing three other soldiers and severely injuring Acosta. To see her “huge brother in a bed, not even able to wipe his face and having limited function,” was very painful, said Laura, 19.
“Those three months were definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through,” his younger sister said. “I think he’s just a hero for going through all of it.”
Edward Acosta was born April 30, 1990 in Ventura. When he was 3 years old his family moved to June Lake — east of Yosemite National Park — where his father, Ernest Acosta, worked as a fish and game warden. About eight years later they moved to Victorville and eventually to Hesperia.
Ernest Acosta tried to persuade his son to go to college after graduating from high school, instead of joining the Army. But it was a hard sell because Ernest Acosta had been in the Army himself, and so had one of Edward’s grandfathers.
“He just wanted to serve his country,” the elder Acosta said. “We tried to talk him into going into college, but he wanted to serve.”
“There is nothing in your lifetime that can prepare you for the loss of a child,” he said. “There’s just nothing that can prepare you to cope with a loss like that. It’s just so devastating.”
Edward’s older sister, Noelle, said there was a passage of Scripture, Isaiah 6:8, that was particularly important to him and influenced his thinking about joining the Army: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
Edward had a tattoo of a cross with the passage number on his upper arm and “really believed that. It was in his heart and there was no persuading him,” Noelle Acosta said.
Edward Acosta’s first assignment after training was in Korea for about a year. When he came back on leave he married his girlfriend, Lindsay, before eventually being deployed to Afghanistan. They had a daughter, Emmalyn, in November.
“He was never scared of anything. He knew what he was getting himself into, and he knew there was a possibility he would never come home, but he didn’t doubt his actions for a second,” Lindsay Acosta said. “He was just so brave.”
Besides his father Ernest, sisters Noelle and Laura, wife Lindsay and daughter Emmalyn, Edward Acosta is survived by his mother, Sheryl Acosta of Hesperia; aunt Maureen Green and uncle Rick Green of Ventura; and grandmother Betty McCarthy of Ventura.