Army Pfc. Adriana Alvarez
Died February 10, 2010 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom
20, of San Benito, Texas; assigned to the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died Feb. 10 in Baghdad, of injuries sustained while supporting combat operations.
(Taken from www.themonitor.com of Feb. 12, 2010) SAN BENITO — An American flag stands behind U.S. Army Pfc. Adriana Alvarez as she smiles from the portrait that hangs next to the front door of her home.
“She was very young,” her older sister, Alma Alvarez, said as tears welled in her eyes.
Adriana Alvarez, 20, became the Rio Grande Valley’s first servicewoman to die in the Iraq war, an official said Friday.
The Army policewoman was found with a gunshot wound Wednesday in Baghdad, her sister said.
Military officials are investigating the death and have not publicly stated the cause and manner, saying only that Adriana Alvarez “died … of injuries sustained while supporting combat operations” while deployed with the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade.
“The family’s overwhelmed,” said Lydia Caballero, a spokeswoman for the veterans group America’s Last Patrol who said the organization was speaking on the family’s behalf.
“The family is very confused,” Caballero told reporters early Friday evening. “In the last two or three hours everything began to sink in.”
Adriana Alvarez is the Valley’s 30th service member — and the third from San Benito — to die in the current Iraq war.
“We have been in close contact with the Department of Defense and the Army and will continue to be in close contact with the military regarding the death of Pfc. Adriana Alvarez,” said Jose Borjon, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi.
Alma Alvarez said she spoke with her sister on Monday, about two days before her death.
“It was something different for her,” Alma Alvarez said of her sister’s tour in Iraq. “She said everything was fine.”
Adriana Alvarez’s body is expected to arrive at the San Benito Funeral Home on Thursday or Friday, said Liza Guerra, an assistant there.
As a student at San Benito High School, Adriana Alvarez dreamed of becoming a police officer, Alma Alvarez said.
“Adriana Alvarez attended schools in San Benito, graduated in 2008 and made an admirable and courageous decision — to enlist and serve our country,” San Benito schools Superintendent Antonio Limon said in a news release.
Adriana Alvarez enlisted in the Army on Aug. 14, 2008, at San Antonio, according to a statement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where her unit is based. She attended one-station unit training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for military occupational specialty 31B (military police). On Jan. 29, 2009, she reported to the 42nd Military Police Battalion at what was then-Fort Lewis, Wash. — now Joint Base Lewis-McChord — where she was assigned to the 571st Military Police Company.
The company deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in August 2009, according to the statement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This was Adriana Alvarez’s first deployment.
Her awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon, according to the base’s statement.
“She wanted to pursue a career in the criminal justice department and she decided the best way was to get into the military,” Alma Alvarez said of her sister.
“We were devastated. We didn’t want her to go but there was nothing we could do,” the older sister said. “She knew there were risks. She knew she had to do it for her country. She did what she had to do and she was proud of it.”
Adriana Alvarez was on a one-year tour of duty when she died, her sister said.
State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, hailed the younger Alvarez as a hometown hero.
“The Rio Grande Valley, as Texas, has lost many — too many — like Pfc. Alvarez. She is unique, however, because she is the first young woman from our community to lose her life in this war,” Lucio said in a news release. “While we grieve for our tremendous loss today, we also honor those that continue to fight tomorrow.”
Ortiz asked for prayers for Alvarez’s family.
“I know that this is a difficult time for the Alvarez family but I know how proud our nation and the community of San Benito are of Pfc. Adriana Alvarez’s selfless service in defense of the United States,” the congressman said in a news release.
The San Benito Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements