Joshua W Soto
San Angelo, Texas
June 16, 2009
Killed in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
|Bomb kills Fort Bliss soldier
By Chris Roberts / El Paso Times
Posted: 06/19/2009 09:31:12 PM MDT
EL PASO -- A Fort Bliss infantryman wounded in combat on a previous tour died Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Iraq, Army officials said Friday.
Sgt. Joshua W. Soto, 25, from California, led an elite Bradley fighting vehicle crew with the 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment, known as the "Steel Tigers." He went to Iraq for the third time this spring with about 4,000 other members of Fort Bliss' 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
"He was the type of (noncommissioned officer) soldiers love to follow, and he was the type of leader commanders strive to have in their unit," said Lt. Col. Jay Gallivan, Soto's battalion commander, in an e-mail from Iraq. "Brave, disciplined, and always putting the needs of his troops before his own, Sergeant Soto will be missed. He was our very best."
The Fort Bliss soldiers are working in southern Iraq. Although they are not leading combat patrols as in previous deployments, they are traveling with Iraqi security forces as advisers and face the same dangers, Col. Peter Newell, the brigade commander, said when the unit deployed. The unit is assisting in the transfer of authority to Iraqi forces.
Soto is survived by his wife, Thelma, and 9-month-old-son, Jayden.
Efforts to reach family members on Friday were unsuccessful.
Soto joined the Army in November 2003. After completing training at Fort Benning, Ga., he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in Germany and was deployed for the invasion of
Iraq, which began in 2003.
During his second deployment, Soto was leading a squad on a foot patrol when it came under attack, according to information provided by his brigade in Iraq. Soto was shot in the right ankle and received a Purple Heart. When he returned to duty soon afterward, he took the gunner position on one of his platoon's trucks.
Soto then left the Army but rejoined in October 2006. He was assigned to a long-range surveillance team with a Fort Hood military intelligence battalion. In March 2008, he was assigned to the Fort Bliss battalion. During training for deployment, Soto's soldiers were recognized as the battalion's "Top Bradley Crew."
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Soto also received two Army Commendation medals, the National Defense Service Medal, three Iraq Campaign medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Overseas Service ribbons, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Soto also was trained as a combat lifesaver.
A memorial ceremony will take place at a later date, post officials said.
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