Saturday, March 19, 2011

Army Pfc. Rudy A. Acosta

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Rudy A. Acosta, 19, of Canyon Country, Calif.

Pfc. Acosta was assigned to 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany; died March 19, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained with small-arms fire.

Fallen soldier Rudy A. Acosta, 19, of Canyon Country, was remembered Monday as a dedicated Christian, a fun-loving person and a man who wanted to honor God and his family.

“I think the military was really an extension of who Rudy was,” said Senior Pastor Scott Basolo of Santa Clarita Baptist Church, where the Acosta family has attended for more than a decade. “He was a servant. He wasn’t interested in personal gain.”

Acosta, a combat medic, died Saturday in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he and Cpl. Donald R. Mickler Jr., 29, of Ohio, were allegedly shot with small-arms fire by an individual from a military security group, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.

They were assigned to the 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

The incident is under investigation, according to the statement.

The Acosta family was notified of their son’s death Saturday afternoon, Basolo said.

Acosta’s family spent the weekend and Monday in Delaware receiving their son’s body.

After graduating from Santa Clarita Christian School in 2009, Acosta completed Army basic training on Aug. 11, 2009, and was deployed to Afghanistan on June 10. He served as a health care specialist.

“He believed he had a great opportunity to serve and contribute to his fellow man in the military,” Basolo said.

Acosta came home during the holidays earlier this year, and attended Santa Clarita Baptist Church for a Sunday service.

“He said he wanted all of us to continue to be fervent in prayer for the people of Afghanistan,” Basolo recalled. “He asked that we pray for them.”

Santa Clarita Christian held a special ceremony Monday, with students and staff, to talk about Acosta. Acosta’s brother and sister attend Santa Clarita Christian.

“We can’t bring Rudy back, but we can serve the Acosta family with honor,” a letter from Principal Derek Swales reads. “Just as Rudy served our school, our city and our country!”

The school also recognized Acosta’s parents, Carolyn and Dante, who have been involved with Santa Clarita Christian for 13 years.

“The Acostas sent pictures to the (Santa Clarita Christian School) faculty of two caskets wrapped with the flag of the United States of America,” a letter from Principal Derek Swales reads. “Seeing our beautiful flag wrapped around his son’s casket was, in father Dante Acosta’s words, ‘brutal.’”

Garrick Moss got to know Rudy Acosta when Acosta was in seventh grade as part of the youth group.

“He just loves life and loves people,” said Moss, Santa Clarita Christian’s football and baseball coach and youth director at Santa Clarita Baptist. “He’s just a godly young man.”

“He genuinely had a love for God that showed through how he treated others,” Moss said.

Acosta was about six weeks away from finishing his tour, Moss said. He was hoping to come home before spending time in Germany.

“He was all excited about the chance to see Europe,” Moss said.

He eventually wanted to go into the medical field.

“I truly think of Rudy as a hero,” Moss said.

Army Pfc. Rudy A. Acosta was killed in action on 3/19/11.

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