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I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which is the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos, provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The IGTNT  title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.
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Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez

Since 2001 we have lost 2291 American troops in Afghanistan and a total of 3396 American and coalition forces.
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The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, 28, of Seguin, Texas, died Nov. 13, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol in Panjwai, Afghanistan.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.   ~ DoD News Release
 

Taps
Performed by the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band

Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky
All is well
Safely rest
God is nigh


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Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, 28, of Seguin, Texas/Mansfield, Louisiana.  Killed in Action 11/13/13 In Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, 28, of Seguin, Texas/Mansfield, Louisiana
Richard Vazquez and his family moved to Seguin, Texas in 2000 where Richard was quickly embraced by the school and community.  The 2004 Seguin High School graduate was the star quarterback for the Seguin Matadors, wearing a No. 2 jersey and was described as having a great reputation and someone you would never forget.

School Superintendent Irene Garza said:

Mr. Vazquez represented our community with honor and integrity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this time.
Gerry Richardson, Vazquez' English teacher during his senior year, called him "very charismatic and very pleasant" with a "great sense of humor and always smiling" and possessing a "lovable personality".  Richardson said he came to love the history of English literature after initially shunning the subject.  
But as he learned of the Middle East crusades and other aspects of warfare that shaped English literature, such as the epic poem Beowulf and works about Scottish warrior William Wallace, he really turned things around.
Richard Vazquez joined the Army immediately following high school graduation.  He was an infantryman initially and in 2009 volunteered for Special Forces, graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course in December 2010.

This deployment was SSgt Vazquez's third to Afghanistan with two previous deployments to Iraq.

SSgt Richard Vazquez' family said he gave his all to the United States.  Brother Romario stated:

He loved defending his country and he did it well. I could sleep better at night knowing he was protecting us.

Even when he wasn’t deployed he was climbing mountains, going to Colombia, doing sniper training — constantly training. He felt like when you dedicate your life to something, you give it your all.

Although the Vazquez family moved to Louisiana, Romario says they are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from the residents of Seguin, Texas.
I'm so, so thankful for everyone in Texas reaching out to us, even though we’re so far away. I’m honored that my brother was well-known back home and that the friends he made there are willing to show that kind of support and love.  A lot of people knew him from football, but he was just a loving person. He was kind to everybody.
Sister Christine Vazquez said she was proud of her brother who loved and lived every moment of his short life adding that nothing he did was much short of perfect.  She too commented on the support the family has received.
Richard has never met a stranger and is greatly loved by all that knew him.

I log on Facebook and I am met with literally 100-plus notifications, dozens of friend requests, and profile pictures changed to flags at half-staff. I feel truly blessed to know he has been loved by so many people honoring him and praying on our behalf. I know the only way I am getting through heartbreak is because of prayers.

Sister, Isabel Vazquez, 16 said her brother had "done a lot in his life".
He was a great brother, son and soldier. He will always be in our hearts. I look forward to going to give him our last goodbyes. I will miss him dearly.
Staff Sgt. Vazquez' military education includes U.S. Army Basic Airborne Course, U.S. Army Air Assault, Combat Lifesaver Course, Warrior Leader Course, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, the Special Forces Qualification Course, Senior Mountaineer Course, Master Mountaineer Course, and SOF Sensitive Site Exploitation - Operator Advanced Course.

Vazquez' awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), the Army Achievement Medal (2nd Medal), the Meritorious Unit Citation,  the Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 Campaign Star, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award), the NATO Medal, the Master Driver Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.

Staff Sgt Richard L. Vazquez is survived by his mother, Teresa Paddle; father, Ted Vazquez; and siblings Romario, Celza, Christine and Isabel Vazquez.  Although no arrangements have been announced, the family will lay him to rest in Louisiana near other relatives.

~ Source  ~ Source  ~ Source

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About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno in 2004 and now is maintained by Sandy on Signal, i dunno, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, Ekaterin, TheFatLadySings, Joy of Fishes, and me, JaxDem.

These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

POW/MIA Banner
POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
Sgt Bowe R. Bergdahl
The only known current Prisoner of War is Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 26 who was captured by the Taliban in June of 2009. Five propaganda videos featuring Bergdahl have been released by the Taliban. A website has been established with the most up-to-date information on Sgt. Bergdahl.

The family of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl received a letter, which they believe was indeed written by him, that brings "new found hope". Family of American POW receives letter from him FOUR years after his capture in Afghanistan

Please keep good thoughts and prayers for Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl.

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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

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