Thursday, September 18, 2008

Army 1st Lt. Robert Vallejo II

Remember Our Heroes

Army 1st Lt. Robert Vallejo II, 28, of Richland Hills, Texas

1st Lt. Vallejo was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, Texas Army National Guard, Grand Prairie, Texas; died Sept. 18, 2008 when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was in went down in the vicinity of Tallil, Iraq. Also killed were Chief Warrant Officer 2 Corry A. Edwards, Sgt. Daniel M. Eshbaugh, Sgt. Anthony L. Mason, 1st Sgt. Julio C. Ordonez, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brady J. Rudolf and Cpl. Michael E. Thompson.

Pentagon IDs 4 Texans killed in chopper crash
The Associated Press

DALLAS — Seven National Guardsmen — including four from Texas — were on their way from Kuwait to Balad to join their unit last week when their helicopter crashed in Iraq, the Texas National Guard said Monday.

The four Texans killed in Thursday’s crash were: Chief Warrant Officer Corry A. Edwards, 38, of Kennedale; Sgt. Anthony L. Mason, 37, of Springtown; 1st Sgt. Julio C. Ordonez, 54, of San Antonio; and 1st Lt. Robert Vallejo II, 28, of Richland Hills.

Three soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard were also died.

“As we grieve with so many in our community over this extremely unfortunate news, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these citizen-soldiers,” said Lt. Gen. Charles G. Rodriguez, adjutant general of the Texas National Guard.

The soldiers had been called to active duty on June 5. After completing two-and-a-half months of training at Fort Sill, Okla., the soldiers were deployed to Kuwait on Aug. 24, the Texas National Guard said in a news release.

The CH-47 Chinook was flying in a four-helicopter formation from Kuwait to the U.S. military base at Balad when it crashed about 60 miles west of Basra. Military officials say they suspect a mechanical malfunction.

The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment, Task Force 34, Texas Army National Guard in Grand Prairie.

Vallejo, a pilot who was posthumously promoted to captain, is survived by his wife Hillary Ann. He joined the National Guard in April 1999.

Edwards, posthumously promoted to chief warrant officer 2, is survived by his wife, Nanette, and sons, Killian Hunter and Logan Samuel. Edwards joined the military in December 1992. From June 2003 to April 2004, he served in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mason, posthumously promoted to staff sergeant, is survived by his wife, Melanie Laree, and daughters, Ashley Nicole, Jamie Rosalee and Megan Irene.

Mason, who also served in Iraq from February 2003 to September 2003, joined the Texas Army National Guard last year. He attended basic training and advanced individual training to become a helicopter engineer.

Ordonez, posthumously promoted to sergeant major, is survived by his wife Leticia, sons Julio and Jacob, and daughters Joyce and Judith. Ordonez, born in Honduras, joined the military in April 1982. Before joining the Texas Army National Guard, he served with HHC, 6-112th in Arkansas as a helicopter engineer, the Texas National Guard said.

Army Capt. Robert Vallejo II remembered
The Associated Press

Robert Vallejo II was very disciplined. He would go jogging at 5 a.m. every morning, no matter the weather. But he melted when it came to family, visiting whenever he could.

“He was a happy person. I never saw him in a bad mood,” said his aunt, Sara Ramirez.

Vallejo, 28, of Richland Hills, Texas, was killed Sept. 18 when his helicopter went down near Tallil. He was assigned to Grand Prairie, Texas.

Vallejo graduated from Texas Christian University in 2005 with a bachelor’s in speech and communication. He was involved with Army ROTC and took many classes in military science.

Soon after graduating from high school, he joined the National Guard and was able to get his college education through the military.

“He enjoyed jumping out of airplanes and parachutes,” said Ramirez.

He and his wife, Hillary, who he met when they were in junior high school, are expecting their first child. They learned a short time before he left for Iraq in August that she was pregnant. The day after Vallejo died, she learned they were having a boy.

She will name the baby Robert.

Army 1st Lt. Robert Vallejo II was killed in action on 9/18/08.

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