Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Army Spc. Vincent A. Madero

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Vincent A. Madero, 22, of Port Hueneme, Calif.

Spc. Madero was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Oct 17, 2007 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee.

Ventura County Star - Just hours after one family buried a son killed in Iraq, a few miles away Blas and Sybil Madero were being told by uniformed officers that their son, Army Spc. Vincent Alexander Madero, was born in San Jose, Calif., on Aug. 27, 1985, was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Balad, Iraq, on Oct. 17, 2007.

On his second tour of duty, 22-year-old Madero had returned to the war zone in August with the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion based in Fort Hood, Texas.

"A lot of people here did know him, and they should know what happened," his brother Daniel Hazelton said. "He did give his life, and we need to honor that. He was proud of what he was doing."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement on learning of Madero's death. "Maria and I join the community of Port Hueneme in mourning the tragic loss of Specialist Vincent Madero. Serving as a member of our nation's armed forces requires courage and bravery, qualities which Vincent embodied. Our prayers are with his family and friends during this painful time; he will be dearly missed by all who knew him," Schwarzenegger wrote.

Madero's sister, Cassey Penn, said her brother kept in touch through e-mail, but there were times when he was so busy he couldn't write.

To check to see if he was OK, she and her brother would look at the login date on his MySpace page. He last signed on to it the day he died.

His family said he didn't talk much about the war but did not seem to have any trepidation about returning to Iraq.

"He told me he wanted to go back so he could help the younger guys," his sister said.

His only regret about returning, his father said, was that he did not get a chance to spend more time with his new wife, Ellen.

The two were married in June. His MySpace page is titled "Ellensloveloveguy." The page plays a loop of Audrey Hepburn singing "Moon River" from the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Madero wanted more time with her, and with her baby son from another relationship, his father said.

Madero had trained as an artillery spotter. He had previously served in a Stryker Brigade and was manning a turret gun when the Humvee he was riding in was hit Oct. 17. It was his day off, but he volunteered to go back out.

"We don't really know what happened, whether anyone else was hurt," said his mother as she clutched her husband's arm at the door of their Port Hueneme home. "We just know (his Humvee) caught fire."

The day Madero was killed two uniformed female officers came to his parents' home to tell them of their son's death. That same day, the family of Gilberto Meza, 21, who had been killed Oct. 6, buried their son in Oxnard.

Madero, who married Ellen just six months after returning from his first tour, attended Oxnard High School but graduated from Frontier High School in Camarillo, his father said.

When he joined the Army in 2003, it gave him focus, his family said. He was stationed in Alaska with the 172nd Stryker Brigade and served in Iraq through 2006 with the unit. He had only recently been assigned to Fort Hood before heading back to Iraq in August.

Vincent had many hobbies but mostly he enjoyed mechanics, camping, photography, art work, and he couldn’t survive without his music. He had every CD you could ever think of. Vincent would go out of his way to help anybody. He devoted his time to making others happy and staying on top of things. Vincent was very responsible and he loved taking care of his family. He always had a smile on his face.

Vincent was a leader; he was one of a kind. He brought so much joy in his short lifetime and he will be missed dearly. He used to say to his family: “When you feel alone, look at the spaces between your fingers, remember that in those spaces you can see my fingers.”

Vincent was preceded in death by his grandfather, Miguel Madero of San Antonio.

He is survived by his wife, Ellen Housley Madero and stepson, James Housley, of North Pole; his parents, Bias and Sybil Madero of Port Hueneme, Calif.; big brother and sister-in-law, Daniel and Rasandera Hazelton, nieces and nephew, Breana, Daniel Jr., and twins, Aaliyah and Ashiya Hazelton, all of Arizona; big sister, Casey Penn of Arizona; also many family and friends in Alaska, California, and Texas.

They were only married a little more than six months, but the widow of Spc. Vincent A. Madero says he made an enduring impact on her life.

He had enlisted in the Army in 2003 after receiving his GED. Vincent met his future wife, Ellen Housley Madero, in late 2004 through mutual friends while he was stationed at Fort Wainwright. Ellen felt an immediate connection to the shy soldier.

“He was so quiet, he seemed really mysterious,” Ellen said. “I knew I wanted to get to know him.”

After some time the two began dating. Vincent brought stability to the life of Ellen and her now 3-year-old son Jamie, who called him “da da.” Vincent talked about adopting the boy in the future.

“He taught us so many things,” Ellen said. “He taught us how to do things right.”

In late 2005, Vincent was sent to Iraq for what became a 16-month tour of duty. The couple kept in touch online, with phone calls and by exchanging a journal in which they wrote notes to each other.

When he returned to the United States earlier this year, he asked Ellen to marry him at a special place off the highway near the Salcha River. She accepted, and the two were wed in a small ceremony in March. It was around that time that Ellen had Vincent’s name tattooed on her stomach. Vincent had her initials tattooed on his left hand.

“He told me that every time he checked the time, he’d be reminded of me,” she said.

Though he grew up in California, Vincent was fond of Alaska. He talked about getting a house with Ellen in North Pole, and eventually becoming an Alaska State Trooper or a firefighter in the state.

“He had never been somewhere so cold, but he learned to love it,” said Vincent’s father, Bias Madero.

Before his scheduled redeployment in August, Ellen and Vincent went on vacation to Stevens Village, where she was born. A friend took him out on a boat there and told him to remember the experience whenever he faced something difficult in Iraq.

“I remember he always called and talked about that,” Ellen said.

Bias said his son spoke little about his time in Iraq, but he was not upset about going back and looked forward to training younger soldiers. Vincent often showed that willingness to help others.

“He had a big heart,” Bias said. “He touched a lot of people.”

In Ellen’s last conversations with Vincent, he was optimistic about the future. He told her to pick out a dress for a ball the couple planned to attend next year, and he talked about renewing their vows at a much larger ceremony when they had saved up the money.

Ellen is now unsure what the future holds, but said she’ll think about him every day.

Madero's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Combat Action Badge.

Army Spc. Vincent A. Madero was killed in action on 10/17/07.

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