Friday, April 22, 2011

Army Pfc. Antonio G. Stiggins

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Antonio G. Stiggins, 25, of Rio Rancho, N.M.

Pfc Stiggins was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; died in Kut, Iraq, of wounds sustained April 22, 2011 when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was 1st Lt. Omar J. Vazquez.

Stiggins joined the military in January 2010 as a cavalry scout was assigned to Troop F, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He arrived at Fort Hood May 2010.

Stiggins deployed in support of Operation New Dawn in September 2010.

Stiggins' awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbons and Combat Action Badge.

Private First Class Antonio Stiggins was killed while supporting Operation New Dawn in Iraq. Now, though no longer fighting beside them, his platoon believes their fellow soldier is watching over them. One image obtained by KOB Eyewitness News 4 shows Private First Class Antonio Stiggins behind the wheel in Iraq, smiling. A second photo shows him smiling again.

“He always had a smile on his face and he was always laughing,” said Army Specialist David Hughes.

Specialist David Hughes was Stiggins’ medic in Iraq. He describes Stiggins as the kind of guy everyone wanted to be around.

An inside joke born in a chow hall at their Iraq base still stays on Hughes’ mind and he can still hear his friend laugh. "It don’t matter where we was at or what we was doing, whether we was on a mission or whatever.... it would get him laughing and it would get him laughing so much that he literally would laugh for 10, 15 minutes at a time,” Hughes said.

“He’ll never be forgotten at all. He’s just one of those guys that that you’ll never forget,” said Specialist Hughes. Stiggins’ platoon is described as a close knit group of soldiers, more like a family. The family is now missing their brother.

“If we had to pick two people to watch down on us, he would definitely be one of the ones. I just want to thank him for who he was and what he brought to the rest of the platoon,” said Specialist Hughes.

A thank you shared by the nation for the ultimate sacrifice paid. Specialist Hughes tells KOB there will be a service for Stiggins on Thursday in Iraq, where his boots, rifle and dog tags will be there, in his absence. The service will include a 21 gun salute.

Army Pfc. Antonio G. Stiggins was killed in action on 4/22/11.

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