Saturday, July 24, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Mora

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Mora, 24, of San Diego

SSgt. Mora was assigned to 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died July 24, 2010 in Qalat, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his military vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt. Daniel Lim, Spc. Joseph A. Bauer and Pfc. Andrew L. Hand.

Four U.S. soldiers including Army Staff Sergeant Conrad Mora, 24, of San Diego were killed Saturday in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. Mora was leading a group of solders when the attack on their vehicle occurred. He was a graduate of Morse High School, where he played football.

The squad leader wrote under the employer section in his Facebook page that he was "blowing things up ... but currently in Afghanistan clearing the roads of things that blows us up."

Army Staff Sgt. Conrad Mora’s job in Afghanistan was to clear roads of explosives. That duty killed him Saturday.

Mora, a 24-year-old from San Diego, was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. He was leading a group of soldiers when their military vehicle ran across a roadside bomb in the town of Qalat. Three other soldiers also died in the attack.

Military life “was his passion,” said his brother-in-law, Christian Lleva. “His passion was serving.”

Mora’s body was returned to Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Monday. His mother, Carmelita, of National City, traveled to Philadelphia to identify his remains, Lleva said.

Mora’s family moved to San Diego from the Philippines when Mora was a child, around age 9 or 10, Lleva said.

Mora attended Morse High School and played football there, Lleva said. He also practiced mixed-martial arts such as jujitsu.

His family, particularly his young son, was especially important to him, Lleva said. His mother sent an e-mail to Conrad wishing him a happy Father’s Day last month. And though he was far away from his family and his home, he wrote back one simple sentence. “You really know how to make me smile,” the return e-mail said.

The last time Mora’s family saw him was in May, when they shared a meal at Goldilocks, a bakery and Filipino cuisine restaurant in National City. “After dinner we came back here, and we all talked for hours and hours,” Lleva said.

He said the family was disappointed he had to deploy to Afghanistan for the second time after having served a year in combat. “We don’t really have anything to say about it,” said Lleva, a Marine. “If they want us to go somewhere, we don’t have a choice.”

During his six-year career, Mora received six Army Achievement Medals and an Army Commendation Medal, said a public affairs officer with Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Besides serving his country, he was also passionate about music. “He would rap about anything,” Lleva said. “He could make anything rhyme.”

The battalion deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in October.

Memorial service arrangements have not been announced.

Mora enlisted in the Army on June 22, 2004. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan at the time of his death. His miliray honors include an Army Commendation Medal, six Army Achievement medals, a good conduct medal, the National Defense Service medal, a Korean Defense Service medal, two Afghanistan Campaign medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service medal, an NCO Professional Development ribbon, an Army Service ribbon, two Overseas Service ribbons, a pair of NATO medals, a Combat Action badge, a Drivers and Mechanics badge, and a Marksmanship Qualification Badge -- Expert with Missile.

Army Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Mora was killed in action on 7/24/10.

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