Fallen Soldier: Rafael Martinez

Rafael Martinez
Dates: Died October 14, 2010
Hometown: Spring Valley, CA
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Sergeant
Player: Trevor Lewis

Army Sergeant Rafael Martinez, 36, of Spring Valley, Calif., was assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Carson, Colo., and served during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. On October 14, 2010, SGT Martinez died of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an IED 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. In Afghanistan, Martinez worked as a cavalry scout. He 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.

"My nephew had a good heart," his uncle, Jose Martinez, said after his passing. "He enlisted in the Army, nobody made him. He did it himself and everybody was proud of him."

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