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Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Mexican hero, an American hero comes home

Arturo Huerta-Cruz, a citizen of Mexico, enlisted in the United States Army, hoping to earn U.S. citizenship.

He is not a relative of mine and I do not know him or his family.

Our kinship lies through my Mexican father, born Juan Pablo Cruz a citizen of Mexico, who also enlisted in the U.S. Army during wartime, to serve his adopted country.

My dad enlisted in 1943, went ashore on Omaha Beach in the third wave of troops, earned a commendation for his service under General George S. Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. He became a U.S. citizen several years after the war.

Arturo deployed to Iraq in November 2007 and served in the Kirkuk area of northern Iraq.

He was killed in Tuz, Iraq, on April 14, 2008 by a roadside bomb that also injured two of his fellow soldiers.

He was 23 years old and was much loved by his parents and extended family.

Follow the link below for his picture and guestbook.

His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.He is survived by his parents, who live in Clearwater, Florida.

The Army is considering granting him U.S. citizenship posthumously, certain to make his parents proud.

It goes to show that a Mexican citizen can become a U.S. citizen if he gets in the right line.

Three years ago today, we buried my son Aaron, who was also in a flag-draped casket at 23 years of age. Eight hours after we buried his brother, my other son Tyler was on his way back to the war for another year. He has yet to come home.

Here’s the link to the Guest book for Arturo Huerta-Cruz:

The captions to the series of photographs follow:

1. The hearse bearing Arturo Huerta-Cruz, a 23-year-old soldier from Clearwater who was killed last April 14 in Iraq by an improvised explosive device, arrives at Calvary Catholic Cemetery Tuesday afternoon for his burial service

2. Florida Army National Guard Honor Guard members carry the casket past family members and friends.

3. Mourners gather around the casket at the graveside service.

4. Army Brig. Gen. Michael Harrison, Deputy Commander 10th Mountain Division, presents the flag that draped Arturo Huerta-Cruz's casket to his mother Maria Huerta-Cruz and his father Pascual Huerta

Guest book for Arturo Huerta-Cruz:

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