Sunday, September 18, 2011

Army Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano, 30, of Edcouch, Texas

SSgt Altamirano was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Sept. 18, 2011 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a non-combat incident.

SSgt Altamirano died from a non-combat weapon malfunction. In another report, wife, Pamela, stated that her husband accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.

Altamirano was posthumously promoted from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant.

SSgt Altamirano graduated from Edcouch Elsa High School in 1999. He joined the Army in January 2001 and served as an armor crewman. This was his fourth deployment to Iraq, having deployed in May.

Fellow soldiers called him "Speedy". Brig Gen Stephen B. Leisenring said, "The nickname says something about his dedication to his unit and his family because he tried to spend as much time as possible with both."

Even though he spent months away from his family, Altamirano did not complain when one of his superiors told him that his leave to come home from Iraq would be postponed, Leisenring said. "He was a selfless soldier," Leisenring said.

Wife, Pamela, said her husband loved the military and his fellow servicemen.

“His war brothers were his everything. I asked him not to go this time because he had some injuries from other deployments. He said he couldn't leave his brothers behind,” said Pamela Altamirano.

Edcouch Mayor Robert Schmalzried ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until two weeks after SSgt Altamirano's burial in memory of the valiant young man.

"Soldiers often go unannounced and they don’t get the respect that they deserve. They do so much for our country and they do so much for their families and their friends. They need to have all the respect that they can get,” said Edcouch Mayor Robert Schmalzried.

Stepdaughter Kayla,16, presented a slideshow of family photos at his funeral.

“I love him and he was a wonderful man,” she said. “And there is no one who will ever be like him.”

SSgt Altamirano's awards and decorations include the following:
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medals (4)
Army Achievement Medals (4)
Valorous Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Award
Army Good conduct Medals (3)
National Defense Service Medal
Iraqi Campaign Medal with 4 Campaign Stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon (3)
Combat Action Badge

Army Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano was killed in non-combat related accident on 9/18/11.

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