Saturday, August 27, 2005

Army Specialist Joseph L. Martinez

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Joseph L. Martinez, 21, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Spc Martinez died in Tal Afar, Iraq, when his dismounted patrol was engaged by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Before going to Iraq, Army Spc. Joseph L. Martinez told his family and friends in southern Nevada that he wanted to protect his country and would take a bullet if he had to.

"He told them and me, 'I will die before you die,'" said his girlfriend, Toni Williams, 20.

Joseph Martinez, 21, was killed in combat Saturday in the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

"It was his duty to make that ultimate sacrifice," said his mother, Cynthia Martinez, calling her son a quiet individual with rare courage and determination. "We all knew it was pretty much his destiny."

Cynthia Martinez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Wednesday report that her son died protecting his buddies. She said crying and tears were not her son's style.

"He was willing to die for his country," said his father, Larry Martinez. "It just happened so quick."

Joseph Martinez, a 2002 graduate of Durango High School in Las Vegas, was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Carson, Colo.

The Defense Department listed him as an Army specialist, but family members said Army officials told them he had been promoted to corporal days before he died.

Cynthia Martinez, a former food and beverage cashier at the Riviera hotel-casino, said her son always wanted to be a soldier.

His father, Larry Martinez, said his son was proud to serve in Air Force Junior ROTC at Durango High, where he also was on the school swim team. But he was determined to go into the Army.

Joseph Martinez was on his second tour of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and felt good to be helping Iraqi people on the path to democracy, his family said. He spoke with his mother by telephone on Thursday, and had been scheduled to return home for two weeks in November.

"He was in good spirits. I'm really grateful that I was able to tell him I loved him. And he said, 'I love you too, Mom.'"

Cynthia Martinez said the family was proud of her son's accomplishments.

"If there's one thing I'd like to say, it's support our troops," she said. "I can't say that enough. It means so much to them out there in the field."

Williams said Joe Martinez didn't hesitate to enlist before graduating from high school.

"He would go to school with his Ranger shirt on," she said. "He wanted to fight. I think we can be proud of him because that's what he wanted to do."

Joseph Larry Martinez, one of three brothers, was born Dec. 10, 1983, in La Mirada, Calif. The family moved to the Las Vegas area in 1997.

Army Specialist Joseph L. Martinez was killed in action on 08/27/05.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know my tears will not help but I want you to know How deeply I feel for you and your family. GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS!