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

Bradley Espinoza

Mission, Texas

October 19, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
26 Army SSG

1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

Fort Hood, Texas

 Killed in Qwest, Iraq, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

From The Monitor themonitor.com 08/22/09:

Military releases further details about Alton soldier slain in Iraq
October 22, 2009 9:33 AM
Jared Taylor and Ana Ley
The Monitor

McALLEN — Military officials disclosed more details Thursday about an Alton soldier killed in Iraq this week.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bradley Espinoza, 26, of Alton, died Monday in Qwest, Iraq, after enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Espinoza was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood.

He entered the U.S. Army in July 2002 as a combat engineer and has been stationed at Fort Hood since November 2002, according to a statement from Fort Hood. Espinoza's awards and decorations include:

>> Army Commendation Medal.
>> Army Good Conduct Medal.
>> National Defense Service Medal.
>> Iraq Campaign Medal.
>> Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
>> Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
>> Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon.
>> Overseas Service Ribbon.

Espinoza was on his third tour in Iraq and was serving as a bomb disposal specialist, his uncle Ralph Solis said earlier this week. The soldier was due to return to Texas in December.

The Mission High School graduate’s body is on its way back to the Rio Grande Valley and could arrive as early as today.

Espinoza is survived by his wife and two children, ages 6 and 3. The man’s wife is stationed in San Angelo, where she also serves in the Army.

Solis said two Army representatives visited the Espinoza household Tuesday morning to deliver the news of his nephew’s death.

Espinoza is the first Valley soldier to die in Iraq this year. Since the Iraq war began in 2003, a total of 24 other service members from the Valley have died in that country.

Prior to Espinoza’s death, the latest Valley service member to die in Iraq was another Mission High School graduate who served as an explosives expert with the Army. Spc. Alex Gonzalez, 21, of Mission, was killed in May 2008 when insurgents fired upon his patrol vehicle, family members told The Monitor.

A member of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Engineers, he died from the injuries he sustained when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his armored personnel carrier. He was on his first deployment to Iraq.

At least 4,356 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to the Defense Department. The figure includes nine military civilians killed in action. At least 3,475 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Funeral Arrangements Set For Valley Soldier
by KURV 

[ALTON] - Funeral arrangements are being made for a Valley soldier killed in a bomb explosion in Iraq this week. Army Sergeant Bradley Espinoza of Alton lost his life Monday as an improvised explosive device he was working to disarm, blew up. The 26-year-old Espinoza was serving as a bomb disposal specialist during what was his third tour of duty in Iraq. The military says Espinoza's body should be flown back to the Valley within the next few days. Espinoza is a Mission High School graduate who leaves behind a wife, who is also an Army soldier, and two young children. He becomes the 25th serviceman from the Valley to die in Iraq since the U-S invasion in 2003. 
Alton Soldier Killed In Iraq KRVG.com
Reported by: Lisa Cortez 

ALTON - The Espinoza family got the news no family wants to hear. Their soldier, 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bradley Espinoza, was killed in Iraq.
He was on his third tour of duty when he was killed. We're told he was trying to disarm an improvised explosive device.
His family's neighbors extend their sympathies.
Elida Gonzalez says, "I feel very sorry for what happened, because he was a very good boy."
"We share their feelings, their pain. No one expected this," says Armando Ochoa.
The Espinoza family tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS the 26-year-old's body is headed back to the Valley. He's expected to arrive this week or this weekend.
No funeral plans have been made.
Espinoza leaves behind a wife, who is also in the Army, a 6-year-old daughter, and a 3-year-old son.
From The Monitor themonitor.com 08/21/09:

Soldier from Alton killed while disarming bomb in Iraq
October 21, 2009 7:54 AM
Ana Ley
The Monitor

ALTON — A soldier from Alton died in Iraq while attempting to disarm an improvised bomb Monday.

Bradley Espinoza, 26, was on his third tour in Iraq and was serving as a bomb disposal specialist with the U.S. Army. He was to return to Texas in December, his uncle Ralph Solis said.

The Mission High School graduate’s body is currently being transported to the Rio Grande Valley and should arrive within three to four days. Espinoza is survived by his wife and two children, ages 6 and 3. The man’s wife is stationed in San Angelo, where she also serves in the Army.

Solis said two Army representatives visited the Espinoza household Tuesday morning to deliver the news. Family and friends gathered at the Espinozas’ trailer home to give each other solace Tuesday afternoon.

“I was there all morning,” said Rebecca Cantu, a friend of Maggie Espinoza, the soldier’s mother. “There are people coming from all over.”

Cantu said her friend wept uncontrollably throughout the day as she mourned the death of her son, whom she had last spoken to a few days ago. The bereaved mother got sick upon hearing the news from the government employees who came to her doorstep. Maggie Espinoza initially thought the women were lost in her neighborhood, her friend added.

“She’s devastated,” Cantu said. “She’s calm, then she cries.”

Bradley Espinoza’s 3-year-old son still seems confused about his father’s death, Cantu said. The boy had been staying with his grandmother in Alton while his parents were away on duty.

“The little boy doesn’t comprehend,” Cantu said. “At first, he was just happy a lot of kids were there. Then he saw his grandma cry, and he was like, ‘What’s wrong?’”

Relatives have not yet made funeral or vigil arrangements.

Bradley Espinoza is the first Valley soldier to die in Iraq this year. Since the Iraq war began in 2003, a total of 24 other service members from the Valley have died in that country. Overall, the United States has lost more than 4,300 service members to the war.

Prior to Bradley Espinoza’s death, the latest Valley soldier to die in Iraq was another Mission High School graduate who served as an explosives expert with the Army. Spc. Alex Gonzalez, 21, of Mission, was killed in May 2008 when insurgents fired upon his patrol vehicle, family members told The Monitor.

A member of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Engineers, he died from the injuries he sustained when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his armored personnel carrier. He was on his first deployment to Iraq.

From The Monitor themonitor.com 08/24/09:

Community rallies around family of slain soldier
October 24, 2009 9:43 PM
Ana Ley

ALTON — A long line of somber faces snaked around Magdalena Espinoza’s tiny front lawn, each person waiting their turn to embrace the bleary-eyed woman and offer what little comfort they could.

Espinoza and her children sat quietly on a row of folding chairs as the procession moved before them. Some whispered words of encouragement into the woman’s ear as they cradled her in their arms. Others just cried.

As many as a hundred people gathered in front of the family’s trailer home Saturday evening for a flag-raising ceremony to honor 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Bradley Espinoza, a soldier who died in Iraq on Monday after enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised bomb.

The Mission High School graduate was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood. He entered the U.S. Army in July 2002 as a combat engineer and has been stationed at Fort Hood since November 2002, according to a statement from Fort Hood.

Relatives of Alex Gonzalez, a Mission soldier who died last year in Iraq, came to the event hoping to give solace to the family of another fallen soldier. The Gonzalezes wore black T-shirts with a printed image of Alex, who died from injuries sustained when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his armored personnel carrier.

“We wanted to pay our respects,” said Norma Garza, Gonzalez’s aunt. “We’ve been through it. We know how hard it’s been.”

Garza had just hugged Magdalena Espinoza, urging her to be strong and endure her son’s loss.

“It’s worse at night,” Garza said, softly shaking her head. “When you’re alone, it hits you.”

Even neighbors who barely knew the bereaved mother attended the event, some shedding a few tears for the young man and his grieving family.

“I don’t know her well, but she’s very nice,” Maria Garcia, 39, said in Spanish. “She’s just devastated.”

Friends and relatives of the fallen soldier shied from media attention at Saturday’s event, several declining Monitor interview requests. But as the evening drew to a close, Magdalena Espinoza was slowly guided by her family toward media cameras, stopping frequently to shut her eyes and lean on relatives.

“Somebody, help me,” she seemed to mouth, reaching at her side with trembling hands. The woman’s unfinished sentences trailed away at first, but she eventually thanked the crowd for their support as they formed a circle around her.

“It was very important for me that everybody be here,” she said. “When (Bradley) became a soldier, he became everyone’s soldier.”

The woman remembered her son — a married father of two young children — as a kind person who “always found a way to make you smile,” and she asked the community not to forget the young man.

“I haven’t done this before, but it was hard,” she said as she looked toward the cameras. “I love you, Bradley. I will always miss you.”

Espinoza’s stepfather, Miguel de Leon, said the family had previously declined interviews because relatives wished for the community to focus on Bradley’s death, not on their grief.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” de Leon said in Spanish. “We don’t want anything. We just want people to remember him.”

From The Brownsville Herald brownsvilleherald.com 08/26/10:

Remains of Alton soldier will arrive today
October 26, 2009 9:34 PM
THE MONITOR

MISSION — The remains of the slain Alton soldier will arrive today around noon at the McAllen-Miller International Airport, and the Mission authorities invite the public to pay their respects to 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Bradley Espinoza on his way to the Rivera Funeral home.

"We invite the public to come out with their flags to Conway Avenue around noon," said Mission Deputy City Manager Aida Lerma.

The Mission Police Department will escort the procession from the McCreery Aviation Co. hangar north on 10th Street, west on Expressway 83, and then north on Conway Avenue to the Rivera Funeral Home on 19th Street, said Mission Deputy Police Chief Martin Garza.

"The businesses in the past have brought out their flags and we want to do that again to pay their respects to the soldier," Lerma said.

Sgt. Bradley Espinoza died Oct. 19 in Iraq after enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised bomb.

The Mission High School graduate was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood. He entered the U.S. Army in July 2002 as a combat engineer and has been stationed at Fort Hood since November 2002, according to a statement from Fort Hood.

Rivera Funeral Home’s Director Charlie De Leon, said they plan to have the funeral Thursday and the burial will be at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission, but will not have exact details of the funeral arrangements until this morning.

Click To Return To Main Page

 Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away

Copyright 2003-2015  Q Madp  PO Box 86888  Portland OR 97286-0888  www.OurWarHeroes.org