Monday, August 23, 2010

Marine Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez, 26, of Falls Church, Va.

Sgt. Rodriguez was assigned to 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Aug. 23, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marine from Falls Church killed by bomb in Afghanistan

Marine Corps Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez, 26, who grew up in Northern Virginia, was overseas for the third time when he was killed Monday in Afghanistan.

Condolences were sent to the Rodriguez family yesterday by Fairfax Supervisor Penelope Gross, who told the News-Press that it is Fairfax County policy to fly flags at half-mast in mourning in such cases.

She wrote, "The fact he died a hero provides some solace, I am sure, but the loss of your son is heartbreaking, nonetheless."

Rodriguez, a graduate of J.E.B. Stuart High School in the Falls Church area, was sent to Iraq in 2003. He returned there in 2004.

The Marine Corps said he was killed by a roadside bomb while in combat in Helmand province. He had been sent to Afghanistan this summer.

A cannoneer in the field artillery, Rodriguez "was a brave soldier," his father, Francisco Rodriguez, said Tuesday night. "He died on duty."

As a teenager, he was an athlete, "very active in all the sports," including soccer and basketball, his father said.

While at Quantico Marine Base, he lived in Stafford County, where a former neighbor recalled him as being quiet. "The most important thing for him was family," Hugh Beckford said.

His father said Rodriguez had a son and a stepson, and recalled them playing soccer.

Rodriguez decided to enlist before he was 18, and, according to his father, said that withholding parental permission would only delay his entry into the service.

Rodriguez’s service awards include the Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

His family issued the following statement Tuesday night:

"We love our son and we will miss him so much. He served his country with honor and courage. He will always be in our hearts. Our prayers go out to all other families of fallen heroes, and we thank you for all of your support. This will be our only statement until a later date when funeral arrangements are announced. Thank you all."

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement regarding the death of Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez of Falls Church, VA:

“Sergeant Ronald Rodriguez was one of our country’s bravest individuals. He faced danger every day to preserve our freedoms and, in the end, he made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Maria and I, on behalf of all Californians, extend our thoughts and prayers to Ronald’s family, friends and fellow Marines as they mourn this devastating loss.”

In honor of Sgt. Rodriguez, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Marine Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez was killed in action on 8/23/10.

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