Saturday, June 17, 2006

Army Sgt. Reyes Ramirez

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Reyes Ramirez, 23, of Willis, Texas

Sgt. Ramirez was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, Baumholder, Germany; killed June 17 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq. Also killed was Spc. Robert L. Jones.

Sergeant Ramirez, 23, called Willis, Texas home. He was killed on June 17th in Ramadi. Relatives say he was just starting his dream, but he didn't get to finish it. Sgt. Ramirez died in Iraq this weekend and now his unborn child will never know his father.

The emotions are still raw and the rough days ahead a reality for the family of Sgt. Ramirez.

His cousin Veronica Castro said, "We were always with him through everything."

Ramirez graduated from Willis High School just a few years ago. Castro says he followed his dream.

"After he graduated from high school, he has always wanted to be in the Army," she said.

Ramirez was a proud soldier stationed in Baumholder, Germany where his 40th engineer battalion had been assigned until Saturday when a bomb exploded near their vehicle during combat operations in Iraq. Ramirez just married his wife Cy in February and the two are expecting their first child. Family members got the call from her in Germany.

Castro recalled, "She was crying. She couldn't talk. She was in tears and said something had happened to Reyes."

Castro says the last time she saw her cousin he said he might not see her for two years as he reported back to duty. She didn't expect for him to return so soon -- and like this.

"I really don't know what happened to him," she admitted. "I know it had to do with a bomb and he didn't deserve to die."

Sgt. Ramirez's body will be flown from Kuwait to Detroit and then here to Houston where his family in Willis will hold the funeral.

Houston Chronicle -- For the past two days, Maria Catalina Ramirez's living room in Willis has become more sanctuary than home as family members gather to pray, recite the rosary and comfort the 47-year-old mother who lost her son over the weekend to a bomb blast in Iraq.

Ramirez’s mother, Maria Catalina Ramirez, told The Houston Chronicle that it was her son’s second Iraq rotation. The family was notified Sunday.

“I feel like my heart has been cut open,” Maria Ramirez was quoted as saying. “All I feel is pain.”

The day before the attack, Jones’ family received a brief letter, according to Oregon news reports. In the letter, Jones wrote that he couldn’t find a Father’s Day card in Iraq, but wanted to tell his father, Jerry Dowell, that he loved and missed him.

“I couldn’t ask for a better father than you,” he wrote. “I just want to say thank you.”

Army Sgt. Reyes Ramirez, 23, was killed Saturday when an improvised explosive device blew up near his vehicle in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. It was his second tour of duty in the war-torn country, his mother said.

"It's so hard because I didn't think they would send him back again after he had already been there a year," she said. "I just want to die."

Ramirez was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion in Baumholder, Germany.

A graduate of Willis High School, Ramirez joined the Army when he was 18. He had served a year in Iraq when he posted in Germany.

In her living room, Maria Catalina Ramirez built a small altar for her son. The altar is quite simple, she said. It has a single candle, a crucifix and La Virgin de Guadalupe. Amid the religious items are two photos of Ramirez, one in uniform taken in Iraq and the other in civilian clothes in Germany.

During his last trip home in February, the mother said, Ramirez spent time with his family, which included his father, Marco Julio Ramirez, and his 21-year-old sister, Maricela.

The mother said she noticed changes: He was harder than he had been in previous visits. She said he would not say much about the war because he didn't want her to worry.

Army Sgt. Reyes Ramirez was killed in action on 06/17/06.

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