FORT DRUM The lives of two 10th Mountain Division soldiers killed in action were remembered in a memorial held on post Thursday afternoon.
Sgt. Jose J. Reyes, 24, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, and Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Rodriguez, 28, Baltimore, were killed July 18 when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Ghazni City, Afghanistan. The two were heavy-vehicle drivers with the 110th Transportation Company, 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade.
Pfc. Crystal Mize, who served in the company with Sgt. Reyes, described her fellow soldier as a caring friend who put others before himself. She said the last time she spoke to him was two days before he died.
Its true what they say: our fingerprints never fade from the lives we touch, Pfc. Mize said.
Staff Sgt. Raffinee Adams, a squad leader who served over Staff Sgt. Rodriguez, praised him for his leadership and compassion for his fellow soldiers. As one example of his character, she described a moment when he corrected a senior officer who had been mispronouncing a subordinates name as a joke.
He was truly, what we like to say, what right looks like, she said.
Describing Staff Sgt. Rodriguez as a man of faith, she held back tears as she recounted a Facebook post she sent to him on the day he died in which she congratulated him on the pinning of his eternal wings upon his arrival in heaven.
Prior to the brigades current deployment, Staff Sgt. Rodriguez had deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
Several members of both soldiers families attended the ceremony.
Sgt. Reyess wife, Neydie Gomez, said she was taking her husbands loss on a day-by-day basis.
Its just so many mixed emotions, she said. Its still sinking in.
Fort Drum was their first duty station; they arrived here a few months after he joined the Army in February 2010. She said her husband was very funny as well as a devoted father to their two children, Damian, 6, and Damianis, 8 months old. He could often be found playing and watching cartoons with his children.
Hed be like another 6-year-old with them, she said.
Staff Sgt. Rodriguezs wife, Tiffanie, standing next to her three children, said that in the past few weeks she had not had any good nights sleep.
The previous night she said she awoke suddenly during a jarring dream in which her husband returned to their backyard twice, once by helicopter, then again by jet plane. During the dream, her husband could communicate only by blinking.
I was telling him, Im sorry ... I love you ... Im going to take care of you for the rest of your life, Mrs. Rodriguez said.
She described her husband as a family man whose personality made him well-liked by the people he met.
He just always had the right thing to say, Mrs. Rodriguez said.
Staff Sgt. Rodriguez has been honored locally in the past month and was buried in Brookside Cemetery in late July. Mrs. Rodriguez said she was grateful for the support she and her family had received.
I can honestly say my breath was taken away, she said. It was just shocking to me.