Family recalls soldier who died in Iraq attack
July 22, 2003
Family members from Caguas, Puerto Rico, heard about the daily attacks in Iraq on the news, but never felt more concerned than on Wednesday.
“I knew right away that it was him when I heard the news on the television,” Providencia Reyes said of her nephew, Sgt. Ramón Reyes Torres, who died from a rocket-propelled grenade attack that day.
“They announced where he was stationed and said that he was from Caguas. Who else could it be? I knew for sure.”
What Reyes heard was an account of one soldier being killed and three others injured during an attack on their convoy traveling near Abu Ghuraib prison in the western part of Baghdad.
Reyes slipped into her native tongue, explaining the man her nephew was, during a telephone interview Sunday night.
“He was intelligent, kind, very humanitarian — he had so many qualities. He was always at home with his wife and kids. He was a good father,” Reyes said through a strained voice.
“He really liked the Army, and he loved his fatherland.”
Torres, 28, was born and raised in Caguas and served in the Army Reserve with the Transportation Unit 432. In Iraq, he was attached to the 3rd Corps Support Command, based in Wiesbaden, Germany.
His younger brother, Carlos Reyes Torres, 25, said Ramón was a great brother.
“I couldn’t think of a better brother to have. He is the best,” he said softly in Spanish Sunday night. He did not want to speak too much, but said he missed his brother very much.
Mayra Rodriguez, Carlos’ wife, said the entire family is heartsick over the news.
“His mother does not believe that Ramón is dead. She is a very strong woman, but right now she just believes that it’s not true. She thinks that they’re liars.
“At least it’s helping to make her not so sad. It’s hard, though, because everyone is really sad and everyone misses Ramón,” the sister-in-law said.
“My husband and Ramón were very close. It’s unreal for him.”
Ramón’s widow, Cinthia Cintrón, declined to talk to the media. Reyes said the parents also did not want to speak to the media at this time.
“Right now they are so sad. We all continue to cry for him. The mother and father are not too healthy to accept what has happened. It’s very tough for them,” Reyes said.
Torres was killed at 9:55 a.m. on the eve of a banned holiday when Saddam Hussein loyalists were expected to demonstrate their power.
There are currently more than 4,000 activated Puerto Ricans on duty in the Middle East, according to the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Adminstration Web site.
The Pentagon reports 225 U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq as of Sunday.