Friday, May 21, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Amilcar H. Gonzalez

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Amilcar H. Gonzalez, 26, of Miami

SSgt. Gonzalez was assigned to 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died May 21, 2010 in Ash Shura, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

Third Infantry Division soldier Staff Sgt. Amilcar H. Gonzalez has been posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Gonzalez, 26, a native of Miami, Fla., was shot and killed May 21 in Ash Shura, Iraq, when insurgents attacked his unit. A “tanker,” he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID at Fort Stewart.

Staff Sgt. Gonzalez joined the Army on Sept. 17, 2001, and arrived at Fort Stewart in April 2002, according to Fort Stewart spokesperson Kevin Larson.

“He had four deployments,” Larson said. He did not have information as to why Gonzalez will receive the medals.

1-64 Armor Commander Lt. Col. Ross Coffman wrote this sad message from Iraq Monday on the battalion’s Facebook page:

“I write you tonight with heavy heart due to the passing of Staff Sgt. Amilcar Gonzalez. He was a leader, warrior, soldier and friend to the entire Desert Rogue Family. He will be missed by all of us. Soon we will conduct the memorial service in Iraq and will all mourn together. Please keep Staff Sgt. Gonzalez’s family and the Desert Rogues in your thoughts and prayers. We continue to remain steadfast in our support of each other and our mission.”

Gonzalez, who had enlisted in September 2001 shortly after the World Trade Center terror attacks, will be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, an Army official said.

An Army tanker, Gonzalez was was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, in Fort Stewart, Ga.

Gonzalez first arrived in Iraq in April 2002, and was deployed four times, the official said.

MIAMI -- A local family is mourning a Cutler Bay soldier who died while serving in Iraq.

Army Staff Sgt. Amilcar Gonzalez, 26, of Cutler Bay, died of wounds he suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents in northern Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

No one answered the door at Gonzalez's home on Tuesday. But at nearby Southridge High School, even nine years after Gonzalez left the school, his computer teacher remembered him.

"He was a real polite kid, a real hardworking kid. I think he ended up with an A or B average in the class," said teacher John Zatroch.

Amilcar Gonzalez left Southridge after his junior year in June 2001, and three months later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. During the same month, terrorists took down the World Trade Center.

Gonzalez, who was called "Gonzo" for short, was a member of the 64th Armor Regiment based in Fort Stewart, Ga. The regiment is stationed in Ash Shura, a village in northern Iraq that the New York Times recently called one of the last dangerous combat missions of the seven-year war, where organized insurgents target American soldiers.

Army Staff Sgt. Amilcar H. Gonzalez was killed in action on 5/21/10.

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