Monday, June 06, 2011

Army Spc. Emilio J. Campo

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Emilio J. Campo, 20, of Madelia, Minn.

Spc Campo was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire June 6, 2011 in Baghdad. Also killed were Army Spc. Michael B. Cook, Army Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, Army Spc. Robert P. Hartwick and Army Pfc. Michael C. Olivieri.

This was their first deployment. They had been there since November 2010.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of these young heroes and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Gainey, the soldiers’ battalion commander.

“Indirect fire is the firing of munitions at an enemy that is not a direct line of sight,” writes Master Sgt. Matt Howard of the 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs. “For example, rifles, tanks and IEDs are direct fire weapons - you see the enemy and you shoot at them. Rockets and mortars are examples of indirect fire.”

“As a combat medic he operates like a paramedic, only he doesn’t sit at the base and respond to incidents. He goes out on patrol with units,” said the 1st Infantry Division’s Public Affairs office. “Their role is to keep the injured soldiers alive until they can get them to a hospital or aide station.”

Spc Campo graduated from Madelia High Schoo in 2009 where he played basketball, track, football and was in choir. He was prom king, his girlfriend, Samantha Crowley, was prom queen.

Spc Campo followed his older brother, Hector, into the military. Campo joined Army July 2009 to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. He served as combat medic.

Campo's cousin, Marcella Rivera, said Campo wanted a career in medicine and thought the Army was his best opportunity for that.

"He thought he wanted to be a doctor, but he told his mom, 'I've got to be realistic because we can't pay for college.'"

Campo’s former classmates at Madelia High School gathered for a memorial June 9.

Jared Bridges says his former classmate wanted to go into sports medicine. He jokes it was because Campo always got hurt playing sports.

Principal Allan Beyer said, "He was a real credit to his family, his school and his community. Every time he was home on leave, he'd come to visit with schoolmates, teachers and staff. He was very proud of what he was doing."

Dustin VanHale, a classmate and good friend, said Campo "was always best friends with everybody." He was a motivator, telling basketball teammates after a 25-point loss, "don't worry, we'll get 'em next time."

"He's not the best-looking guy in the world, but he was always getting all the girls," VanHale said. "We'd be playing basketball and he'd leave with two, three girls' phone numbers. He was always traveling to different places to hang with this girl or that girl."

Longtime friend Tom Schumacher said Campo was "a very social person," ''a smooth talker," ''a big partier," and "a regular Casanova."

"He was always the most calm. He was the funny one. We did a lot of stuff, he just loved doing stuff," Schumacher said. "He just tried to live his life to the fullest. He was always helping other people. He felt (the Army) was one way he could help."

"Everybody always worried about him, told him to come home," Schumacher said. "He was always the one who told everybody not to worry, shrugged it off like it was no big deal. Made it seem like he was invincible. That's what we always said."

Sp Campo is survived by his parents, Mirna and Emilio Sr.; and brothers Hector and Hugo.

Army Spc. Emilio J. Campo was killed in action on 6/6/11.

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