Fallen Soldier: Rafael Martinez

Rafael Martinez
Dates: Died October 14, 2010
Hometown: Spring Valley, California
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Sergeant
Player: Mahanth Chirravuri

Army Sergeant Rafael Martinez, 36, of Spring Valley, California, was assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Carson, Colorado and served during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. On October 14, 2010, SGT Martinez died of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan.

SGT Martinez was the child of immigrants and had a sheltered childhood in Stockton, often going to church or walking the neighborhood at his father's side. In 2007, at age 33, SGT Martinez enlisted in the Army. "My nephew had a good heart," his uncle, Jose Martinez, said. "He enlisted in the Army, nobody made him. He did it himself and everybody was proud of him." In Afghanistan, Martinez worked as a cavalry scout, a dangerous job which required him to gather and report information on terrain and insurgents' equipment and position. SGT Martinez was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, the Army Commendation medal, the National Defense Service medal, and Afghanistan Campaign medal for his service and sacrifice.

SGT Martinez’s daughter is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.