Friday, May 15, 2009

Army Staff Sgt. Esau I. De la Pena-Hernandez

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Esau I. De la Pena-Hernandez, 25, of La Puente, Calif.

SSgt. Pena-Hernandez was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died May 15, 2009 at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small-arms fire in Chak, Afghanistan. Also killed was Sgt. Carlie M. Lee III.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune -- LA PUENTE - For Army Staff Sgt. Esau Ivan De La Pena-Hernandez, dying for his country was more than just a possibility, it was his own professed destiny.

De La Pena-Hernandez was killed while on patrol during a battle in Chak, Afghanistan alongside a friend on Friday. He would have been 26 next Monday.

"It's a big loss to us," said his mother Leticia De La Pena. "But in some way, I know he's glad the way he died."

Family members said the military was top priority for the La Puente High School graduate, who enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 18 and served in Iraq before enlisting in the Army and going to Afghanistan. He told his family he was willing to die at war.

De La Pena-Hernandez poured his whole heart into his military service, family members said.

He was a fan of military-themed video games and movies and knew the film Full Metal Jacket word-for-word, family said. His love for soccer was a close second.

The oldest of three children, De La Pena-Hernandez was born in Mexico and moved to the United States with his family when he was 11, family members said. Previously a legal resident, he had recently earned his citizenship.

His father Mario J. De La Pena said his son was a man of dedication and determination who knew what he wanted to do with his life and went for it.

"He used to always call me and ask `Are you proud of me?'," Mario De La Pena said. "I told him `You are my hero."'

De La Pena-Hernandez was humble about his military service, and did not complain to his family about anything.

Family members were shocked to discover after his death that he had earned nearly 20 decorations during his service.

"He wasn't a flashy person," said sister Denise De La Pena. "We never knew he had all these medals."

When he called home, it was to check up on the family and let them know he was OK. His last call was on Mother's Day.

"Whenever I talked to him, he always said, `Do whatever you want to do that makes you happy'," said brother Bryan De La Pena. "I'm glad he died doing something he wanted to do."

While the De La Pena family continues to mourn their loss, they take some solace in the fact that Esau lived his dream.

"I'm proud of what my son did for our country," Mario De La Pena said. "I always will be."

De La Pena-Hernandez was a member of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.

Army Staff Sgt. Esau I. De la Pena-Hernandez was killed in action on 5/15/09.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ATTN: To who Runs This....

I just wanted to Point out that this sentence is wrong...
De La Pena-Rodriguez poured his whole heart into his military service, family members said.

His Name is De La Pena-Hernandez and not RODRIGUEZ. Can you Please Fix this.

Thank You very Much.
A Friend Of SSGT Esau I. De La Pena-Hernandez