Monday, August 29, 2005

Army 2nd Lt. Charles R. Rubado

Remember Our Heroes

Army 2nd Lt. Charles R. Rubado, 23, of Clearwater, Florida.

2nd Lt. Rubado died in Tal Afar, Iraq, when his M1A2 Abrams tank came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado.

CLEARWATER - As soon as she saw the soldiers at her door at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Nitaya Rubado knew she had lost her son.
``I saw two military men come, and I just got the bad feeling,'' Rubado, 59, said. ``I didn't want it to be the truth.''

Her husband, Charles, 61, was in bed, but when she shouted for him and he looked out and saw the men, he knew, too, he said.

Wednesday morning they looked through a cache of photographs of their son, 2nd Lt. Charles Robert Rubado, 23, who was killed by a sniper while on patrol with his unit, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, in Iraq on Aug. 29.

Their son was scheduled to come home for two weeks in September.

``He was pretty tired,'' Charles Rubado said. ``They were working hard.''

The pain of Monday evening's news was raw, and the Rubados' voices broke often as they spoke of their younger son.

``He just wanted to follow his dad's footsteps and his brother's,'' Nitaya Rubado said.

Their second son practically was born into the military - at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, Hawaii, where his father, who retired as an Army first sergeant, was stationed.

His brother, Steven, 32, was the first to follow their father's example. He enlisted in the Army. A missionary in India, he was on his way to Clearwater on Wednesday.

When young Charles Rubado enrolled at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, he joined the Army ROTC.

During his senior year at Florida Southern, Rubado married his college sweetheart, the former Mary-Anne Hollingsworth, who earned a degree in education. They married in December 2003.

He graduated with a degree in criminal justice - and an ROTC commission as an Army officer - in May 2004. His first assignment was to Fort Carson, Colo. His unit was deployed to Iraq in March.

The news of Rubado's death was a blow to his friends at Florida Southern.

The college held a memorial ceremony for Rubado late Wednesday. Tributes included a wreath placed in front of a marker that honors Florida Southern graduates who were killed in World War II.

``It's ... taken everybody by shock,'' said Shari Szabo, director of alumni relations for the 1,800-student, United Methodist Church-affiliated college in Lakeland.

Szabo said she was told Rubado was leading a dangerous mission in Iraq to help another unit when he looked out from a tank and was shot by a sniper.

The couple were strong Christians, Szabo said, and his wife wrote in the spring to her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, that he was the love of her life:

``Always keep our overseas troops in your prayers,'' she wrote.

Mary-Anne Rubado taught at Eagle Lake Elementary School before leaving for Colorado when her husband's Army career began after his graduation.

``I miss him so much,'' she wrote to her sorority in the spring for a reunion book.

Florida Southern ROTC cadet David White, a senior, said Rubado was a role model for younger cadets.

``If we were doing something, he would do it right alongside of us,'' he said. ``I remember on a field training exercise, I had an accidental discharge of my weapon. It was a blank, right at his face.

``Instead of jumping on me like most, he took me aside and said, `Hey, White. That's not how we do it.' He was definitely a good guy.''

Charles Rubado said his son was a proud military man. ``He loved the Army, and he loved the [3rd] Cavalry,'' his father said.

``I do wish he hadn't gone to Iraq,'' his father said. ``But I'm also very proud of him. He was a soldier, and he chose to be one, and he cared very much about his country.''

Nitaya Rubado said it has been rough for them. ``We can't sleep still. ... I couldn't eat. God, it's so hard. I don't know how I`m going to go on without him.''

Army 2nd Lt. Charles R. Rubado was killed in action on 08/29/05.

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