Sunday, February 18, 2007

Army Sgt. Matthew S. Apuan

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Matthew S. Apuan, 27, of Las Cruces, N.M.

Sgt. Apuan was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Feb. 18 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with the enemy using small arms fire while on combat patrol.

County loses 6th man in Iraq
By Steve Ramirez Sun-News reporter

LAS CRUCES — A U.S. Army sergeant has become the fourth soldier from Las Cruces and sixth Doña Ana County resident to be killed in Iraq since 2003.

Sgt. Matthew Apuan, 27, died Sunday, said his father, Charles Apuan of Las Cruces. Apuan was a 1998 graduate of Mayfield High School who was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Official details of Apuan's death were not expected to be provided to his family, until sometime today. However, Charles Apuan believes his son was one of two soldiers killed when Sunni insurgents staged what The Associated Press described as a "bold" daylight assault against a U.S. combat post north of Baghdad.

"I read about it on the Internet," Charles Apuan said. "Insurgents blew up a car bomb at the front gate of the camp where he was staying and that was followed by rifle fire. We're waiting on more information, but when I read that I thought he had to have been one of those soldiers killed."

"A coordinated attack" is how a U.S. military statement described the raid on the outpost in Tarmiyah, about 30 miles north of Baghdad. It added that a suicide car bombing began the fight, but military authorities declined to give further details.

Apuan was stationed at Camp Falcon, or Forward Base Falcon, a short distance outside of Baghdad. He was a tank gunner assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

"It's a tragedy, simply a tragedy," said city Councilor Dolores Archuleta, who is actively involved in military and veterans issues in Las Cruces.

"He was finishing seven years of active duty," said Apuan of his son. "He was going to get out (of the Army) after this tour. He had seven months left before his enlistment was up and he was going to go back to New Mexico State University and finish his degree."

Apuan enlisted in the Army in August 2001, just weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He completed basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., before going to Fort Hood.

"He was always interested in going into the military," said Apuan of his son. "His senior year at Mayfield he took the advanced placement test (in history). His big interests were the military and history."

As a freshman, Apuan was a member of the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Mayfield. As a senior, he was on the Trojans' track team.

Apuan also played soccer in the High Noon Soccer League.

Apuan attended NMSU for two years where he studied hotel-motel management.

He is survived by his father and stepmother, Charles and Martha Apuan of Las Cruces, his mother, Sandra Apuan, and a sister, Aimee Apuan, who also live in Las Cruces.

Army Sgt. Matthew S. Apuan was killed in action on 02/18/07

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