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

Oscar D Vargas-Madina

Oscar D Vargas-Medina

Chicago, Illinois

May 1, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
32 Army SSG

84th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks

Honolulu, Hawaii

Died in Al Amarah, Iraq when their convoy was attacked.
Soldier called mom in Kissimmee days before his death in Iraq

Associated Press

CHICAGO — A 32-year-old soldier killed in Iraq had called his mom in Florida two days before his death to say her Mother’s Day present was on the way.

Staff Sgt. Oscar Vargas-Medina of Chicago was killed May 1 when a group of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army militia attacked a military supply convoy outside the southern city of Amarah.

His mother, Francia Lopez, said she last heard from her son on Thursday. He called early in the morning to tell her that his unit was being sent to Fallujah on a “very dangerous mission.” Later in the day, he called to thank her for a package of photographs and candy.

He told her: “Mommy, on Mother’s Day, please be home because I sent you a surprise.”

“I feel destroyed. He was my first born and he had no father,” Lopez said in a phone interview from her Kissimmee, Fla., home. “I raised him by myself. He was my life.”

Lopez said her son had been deployed to Kosovo, Korea and Kuwait during 12 years in the Army. He joined the ROTC program in high school after they moved to the United States from Cali, Colombia.

“He loved the Army. He used to say the Army is the best place to be. He felt strongly about going to Iraq. He felt it was necessary to fight for their freedom,” Lopez said.

Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda, 22, of Ramona, Calif., also died in the attack, the Defense Department said in a statement.

Vargas-Medina and Ojeda were assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light) based at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu.

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