Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Octavio Herrera

Caldwell, Idaho

August 11, 2013

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
26 Army SSG

4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, Kentucky

 Killed when enemy forces attacked their unit with indirect fire.

Octavio Herrera
December 18, 1986 - August 11, 2013
Army Staff Sergeant Octavio, "Tavo/Tavis/Bean," Herrera was born in Nampa, Idaho at Mercy Medical Center.
He was a great man, son, husband, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew and friend. He will be truly missed by the many people whose hearts he touched.
He passed away on August 11, 2013 in the Paktia Province in Afghanistan fighting bravely alongside his Brothers In Arms. 
Octavio is survived by his wife, Courtney R. Herrera of Clarksville, TN and his parents, Gerardo and Angelica Herrera, both of Caldwell, Idaho by way of Zacatecas, Mexico. His brother Sergio and his family Pricilla, Gabriel, and Caitlynn. His brother Miguel and his family Dulce, Evany, Daliah and Miguelito. He is also survived by his beloved sister and pride and joy, Claudia and her fiancée David all from Caldwell, Idaho. He will be forever missed by his nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly, Miguel, Gabriel, Evany and Daliah. He also leaves behind his in-laws Keith and Karen Zillifro, and brother-in-law Alex Zillifro who loved him very much, and of course all of his Brothers In Arms.
He also is survived by his grandma Juana Carreon and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Concepcion Herrera and Jesus Herrera.
He joined the Army in July 2007, and was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he deployed twice to Afghanistan. He arrived at Fort Campbell, KY in September 2012, and re-enlisted for five more years during his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2013. He also went on an aide mission to Haiti through the Army to assist the country after the devastating hurricane. He was selected as an honorable few who participated in the D-Day reenactment of the parachute jump into Normandy, which he always noted as one of the highlights and honors of his career.
His awards include two Army Commendation Medals, one Army Achievement Medal, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, one Army Good Conduct Medal, one National Defense Service Medal, one Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Third Campaign Phase), one Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, one Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, one Army Service Ribbon, one Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2 Device, two NATO Medals, one Combat Action Badge, one Parachute Badge and one Air Assault Badge. And will be receiving the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart Medal posthumously.
The loyalty to Octavio extended far beyond people. Octavio loved and was loved by his childhood dog Princess, and his one year old lab mix Ashley. Princess was Octavio's dog for 16 years, from when he grew up on Arthur Street in Caldwell. He would call her by the nicknames "Bewuench" or "Graboid."Octavio loved playing with Princess. He would flip her around, and get in her face and make her growl at him and rile her up so she would run crazy around the house. Princess would love falling asleep with him in his bed. He talked about Princess with joy and pride in his heart. He loved that dog. When Princess passed in March of 2013 he cried as only he would for someone or something he loved. We are sure Octavio is playing with Princess right now waiting for us to join them someday. Octavio's other dog Ashley was his pride and joy from the time she was six weeks old. He referred to her as his "baby girl." When he came home after a long day at work, she'd hear his car horn in the driveway and go sit by the door with her tail wagging, waiting for him to come in. He loved to run around in the yard, play fetch, and go for long walks with her. They'd end each day with her sleeping by his feet, and then started each morning with Ashley sitting on his face till he woke up.
Our family, and his wife Courtney's family can take up a whole newspaper talking about how Octavio made us feel and everyone else feel. We could tell you all the things he was about and stood for, who he has, how he acted and many other admirable aspects of his character just for starters, but I think a message sent from his Smoke, Sergeant First Class Shane Parks to Octavio's wife Courtney soon after Octavio passed away easily shows the world what Octavio was like and what he was about. With the permission of his Brother In Arms, his following message is as follows:
"Hi Courtney, it's Smoke. I don't have to tell you how wonderful of a man your husband is. I have so much respect for Octavio. This is very hard for us, we miss him dearly. We talk about him every day and honor him. Anytime I was upset or having a bad day he could always get me to smile with sarcastic, humorous comments and quotes. Octavio did everything right and knew everything about his job and ...his Soldiers. Your husband died a hero...they found Octavio on top of another Soldier. Even till the end, your husband gave his all to protect the welfare of his Soldiers. I love Octavio with all my heart and I can feel his presence here with us now. We are here if you need us, just like your husband, you are part of the "rocpile" and always will be! rocpile haf...Smoke"
R.I.P. Octavio "Tavo/Tavis/Bean" Herrera
We feel you around us all the time.
We ALL Love you and will NEVER forget you.
Viewing for Octavio will be held Thursday, August 22, 2013 at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, Caldwell from 5:00-8:00 PM with Rosary recited at 7:00 PM, and Funeral Mass will be held Friday, August 23, 2013 at 10:30 am at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. Interment will follow at the Idaho State Veteran's Cemetery. Boise, ID. Services are under the care of Flahiff Funeral Chapel, Caldwell. Condolences for the family may be given at www.flahiffffuneralchapel.com.

Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Aug. 20, 2013
From Udaho KTVB ktvb.com 08/14/13:

Friends of fallen Caldwell soldier say he was a man to emulate 

by Scott Evans
KTVB.COM

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 15 at 9:14 AM
CALDWELL – We're beginning to get a better picture of the Caldwell soldier who died just three days ago while fighting in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

The family of Octavio Herrera says that he had a smile that would light up any room. But he was more than that. Those who knew him say he was a man others should emulate.

The 26-year-old was in the middle of his third deployment to Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked his unit.

The day was Sunday, August 11. Herrera and two other soldiers with the101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky lost their lives that day.

"He was serving other people, serving his country and that's pretty special," said Anita Wilson, Herrera's former school counselor.

Wilson first met Herrera when he was in the 8th grade at Jefferson Junior High School in Caldwell. She was his school counselor that year and every year until he graduated from Caldwell High School, finishing in the top 15 percent of his class.

"He took difficult classes, rigorous classes, AP,” said Wilson. “I looked at his transcript yesterday he took the most difficult classes that we offer and did very well, challenged himself, was really successful. He graduated with honors in 2005, so that's something that his family can be really proud of.”

Herrera's life was molded by character building jobs. His former employer at Orphan Annie's says he used to stand here and wash dishes, adding he was an excellent employee and an even better young man.

He also spent time at Crookham Seed Company working during the summer in the corn fields. His former boss told us his work ethic was second to none and that he was the type of employee that any employer would want to be a part of their company.

After some college in Arizona and at Boise State, he decided to join the Army in 2007.

Herrera served his country honorably, because for him, it was more than a job, it was his calling.

"I just hope that they're really proud of the things he accomplished in his short life. He was an inspiration. He should be an inspiration to our students and to our community," said Wilson.

Herrera is the third former student at Caldwell High School to die in combat since the first Gulf War.

The school is planning to honor those former students this coming school year on Veterans Day.

He will also be honored Friday night at the Caldwell Night Rodeo.

At this point we're still waiting for details on Herrera's honorable transfer, as well as details on his funeral. We're expecting to get that information in the coming days.

From Idaho Press-Tribune idahopress.com 08/22/13:

Fallen Caldwell soldier Staff Sgt. Octavio Herrera returns home
Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 12:05 am

by Nick Groff
CALDWELL — U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Octavio Herrera died doing what he did best — caring for and serving others.
Herrera, 26, was killed by enemy fire Aug. 11 in Afghanistan serving his country. On Wednesday, the hero returned home to Caldwell.
Friends said memories of Herrera made them smile — he was down to earth, a true friend and will be missed by many.
Herrera’s best friend Matthew Romero said his generosity and kind heart were unmatched.
“No matter who you were, Tavo cared about you,” Romero said. “If you barely knew him or you were his best friend, he cared. He loved everyone.”
The pair met almost 25 years ago and grew up a few houses from each other on Arthur Street in Caldwell. They hadn’t seen each other in about a year, but spoke Aug. 9 about plans for the soldier to meet his goddaughter Hazel, Romero’s daughter. Romero said every time they talked, decades-old childhood memories of late-night video game binges, for example, drove the conversation.
Romero and Herrera started at Van Buren Elementary School, moved up to Syringa Middle and Jefferson Junior High before graduating together in 2005 from Caldwell High. Romero said he was a little surprised when Herrera joined the Army in 2007.
“I knew he had an interest … when he told me he was doing it, I was kind of hesitant about it,” Romero said. “But I knew he would excel. No matter what he did … he put 110 percent into it.”
Romero said he knows Herrera would give him a hard time for feeling down about the loss of his best friend.
“He wouldn’t want us to be sad,” Romero said. “I know he’s gone, but I really do feel like people will remember him for what he did. He was such a good guy to be around — super generous.”
Herrera’s older brother Miguel Herrera was one of about 100 family members and friends at Gowen Field for the Honorable Transfer of Remains ceremony Wednesday. He said his brother, who will receive posthumous Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals, was “truly the best of the best.”
“He never shared the evil that he saw in the world,” Miguel Herrera said. “He always came home and just shared his love with us, his family. It’s going to be really hard living life without him.”
Herrera leaves behind his wife, Courtney, his father, mother, grandmother and grandfather, two brothers, a sister, two nephews and two nieces, a sister-in-law, his mother and father-in-law, and a brother-in-law. His extended family is in Oregon, Nevada, Chicago and Mexico.
For more photos from the ceremony, visit idahopress.com.
— Reporter Nick Groff was a classmate of both Herrera and Romero.

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