Soldier Honored: Mark D. Vasquez
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant Mark D. Vasquez, 35, of Port Huron, Mich., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, at Fort Riley, Ks., and served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On November 8, 2003, Staff Sgt. Vasquez was killed while riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Vasquez attended Port Huron High School. Before joining the Army in April 1993, he had little direction or discipline, but he thrived in the Army; it was the guidance and discipline he needed. He was first stationed in Hawaii, followed by Fort Lewis, where he attended Airborne school. Once he arrived at Fort Riley, he received his Ranger Tab in August 2003.
Staff Sgt. Vasquez loved being active. He had recently taken up golf and excelled at skateboarding and breakdancing. He missed his unit’s first deployment to Iraq while training in the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning. Those close to him say Staff Sgt. Vasquez hoped another chance would come. Friend Jeff Parr remembered Staff Sgt. Vasquez as fearless. “If it was dangerous, he wanted to do it. And I’m sure he would rather it be him than anyone else.”
Staff Sgt. Vasquez’s wife is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.