Sunday, April 06, 2008

Army Capt. Ulises Burgos-Cruz

Remember Our Heroes

Army Capt. Ulises Burgos-Cruz, 29, of Puerto Rico

Capt. Burgos-Cruz was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died April 6, 2008 in Balad, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Spc. Matthew T. Morris.

NBC Action News -- FORT RILEY, Kan. - Capt. Ulises Burgos-Cruz, 29, died April 6 in Balad, Iraq of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

Burgos-Cruz was an ordnance officer serving on a military transition team assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. His home of record is Puerto Rico.

He entered the Army in June 2001 and deployed on the 1st Inf. Div. transition team in June 2007.

Prince George church mourns soldier who died in Iraq

Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

The Sacred Heart Catholic Church parish in Prince George County is mourning the death of a choir member and soldier who died in Iraq.

Capt. Ulises Burgos-Cruz, 29, of Puerto Rico, assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., died Sunday in Balad. His vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device, said Fort Riley spokeswoman Alison L. Kohler.

He joined the Army seven years ago and deployed to Iraq with the 1st Infantry Division transition team last June as an ordnance officer. Transition teams train for 60 days at Fort Riley to advise, teach, mentor and coach their Iraqi or Afghan counterparts.

"He left telling us that he was going to come back," said Sgt. Carlos Roman, a Sacred Heart church member. "In two months he would have been home."

Burgos-Cruz's wife, Sarita Burgos-Cruz, returned to her family in Puerto Rico when her husband was deployed.

During the couple's five-month stay in Fort Lee, they made an impact with their friendly and good-natured personalities. Both were choir members at Sacred Heart's Hispanic ministry, which has a Sunday Spanish-language Mass.

"They were good Christians," Nela Feliciano, a former Sacred Heart church member, said in a phone interview from Florida. "They were good people. Theywere a couple made for each other."

Sacred Heart will celebrate its 1 p.m. Sunday Mass in the memory of Burgos-Cruz. The parish is feeling his death, the Rev. John J. Wagner III said. "He was a charismatic and gifted person."

Roman, also a choir member, said Burgos-Cruz helped the group record a Christian music CD.

"He had a lot of talent for using recording equipment," he said. "He had his own recording equipment."

The choir shared time with Burgos-Cruz during rehearsals, dinners together and even shopping for a uniform for the choir, Roman said.

"They were the kind of people that, unfortunately, you don't meet every day," he said.

Sarita Burgos-Cruz is pregnant. The child is due this summer. Roman said the couple lost three previous pregnancies because of complications and was anticipating their first child.

Roman said he spoke to Sarita Burgos-Cruz in Puerto Rico this morning.

"Her mission right now," he said, "is to bring that baby into the world and to give him his [father's] name."

Army Capt. Ulises Burgos-Cruz was killed in action on 4/6/08.

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