Thursday, June 24, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Edwardo Loredo

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Edwardo Loredo, 34, of Houston, Texas

SSgt. Loredo was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died June 24, 2010 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Staff Sgt. Edwardo Loredo joined the Army on Oct. 5, 1999 and entered training at Fort Benning, Ga. After he completed his training, Loredo reported to Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, where he joined the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Brigade Combat Team, according to a news release from the 82nd Airborne Division.

In March 2003, Loredo deployed to Iraq for six months before returning to Italy and serving as traffic management coordinator with the 663rd Movement Control Team and finishing his enlistment in August 2004.

Loredo rejoined the Army on Sept. 29, 2004 and returned to duty as an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment, deploying to Afghanistan from February 2005 to February 2006.

"(He) had a presence that could brighten even the darkest rooms. With a smile that was overly contagious, he could instantly make a bad situation tolerable," said 1st Lt. Matt Jarmon, Loredo's company executive officer.

A memorial in his honor will be held in Afghanistan.

Loredo's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, three Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 2 device, four Overseas Service Ribbons, the Overseas Reserve Component Training Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

Houston sergeant died just before 35th birthday

Edwardo Loredo didn't tell anyone when he joined the Army shortly after graduating from Sam Houston High School.

"He kept it a secret when he went to boot camp," said his cousin, Elizabeth Huff, of Humble. "Nobody knew. I think just because he wanted to do something on his own. He's an adventurer. He's a protector of all. He protected all of us."

On Thursday, Huff received word that the soldier she considered her little brother had died in Afghanistan. He would have celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday. His body arrived in a flag-draped coffin at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday.

"It's a low, low blow," a tearful Huff said on Sunday.

Edwardo Loredo's death has yet to be officially announced by the Department of Defense, and no details were immediately available. The 34-year-old staff sergeant is the 20th Houston-area service member to be killed in Afghanistan, and the sixth so far this year.

Married to a sergeant
Staff Sgt. Loredo was born in Houston. He was married to Army 1st Sgt. Jennifer Laredo and had a 2-year-old son, Eddie, a 7-year-old daughter, Laura, and a stepdaughter, Alexis, 13.

He served combat tours in both Iraq and in Afghanistan, Huff said.

"He called me one time and said, 'Hey, I'm re-enlisted,' " she recalled. "I said 'Eddie, you did your time.' He goes, 'But I enjoy my family.' His Army family. That was his life. He loved it. He loved his career, he loved his friends. He met his wife there."

Most recently, Loredo was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He deployed to Afghanistan in December, family members said.

His wife deployed there in May, they said.

"She was deployed in the northern part of Afghanistan and he was in the south," Huff said. "You wondered, 'Why did they have to deploy at the same time?' Then you just think, 'God put her there so he didn't have to come home by himself.'"

Jennifer Laredo accompanied her husband's body to the U.S. on Saturday. She is staying with relatives because she can't bring herself to return to the house she shared with her husband, Huff said.

"She told me that she can't go there right now," Huff said. "She can't go to their home. It's real hard for her. They just bought that house. While she was deployed (before), he moved for her. He picked the furniture out. He moved it all in the house. He set it up, everything."

Staff Sgt. Loredo was an adoring father and husband who loved spending time with his kids and cooking for his wife, said his aunt, Irma Rodriguez, of Houston.

Before he deployed, Rodriguez said, "he called me to ask how to make Spanish rice because he wanted to make a dinner for his wife. He was a romantic person."

Loredo's brother, Sylvester Loredo, of Moultrie, Ga., described him as "a hero, a fine soldier, a good man and a good father."

Decided to write a will
The last time he saw his brother was the day after Christmas.

"He told me to come out of the house, and he told me that him and his wife talked, and he said that where he's going it's going to be a very dangerous mission, that soldiers are dying every day, left and right, and that he's scared about it too," he said. "He told me he'd talked to his wife, and he told me that it's best if he go ahead and make a will."

Sylvester Loredo said he didn't even want to think about that.

"I told him I just want him to come back in one piece, keep his head up, and come back to visit me," he said.

Army Staff Sgt. Edwardo Loredo was killed in action on 6/24/10.

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