Red Cloud soldier recalled with fondness, humor
January 20, 2008
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Second Infantry Division soldiers packed tightly into Camp Red Cloud’s tiny Warrior Chapel on Friday to say farewell to a comrade who had been “taken too soon.”
During a 30-minute memorial service, friends and fellow soldiers spoke fondly and sometimes humorously about Spc. Armando Matos Chamorro, a member of the 2nd ID Taekwondo Team.
Matos, a naturalized American citizen from Montevideo, Uruguay, died Dec. 27 from an undetermined illness while vacationing in Norway. He was 35 years old.
Among the speakers at Friday’s ceremony were Matos’ battalion commander, company commander, and team grand master Mun Ok-kim.
Company commander Capt. Bruce Lee spoke fondly of his soldier, saying he had accomplished much.
“Spc. Matos was well-loved, and he had done so many things on Earth, and I’m sure he’ll do much more in heaven,” he said. “I will be forever grateful to have known Spc. Matos.”
Others who spoke described the soldier as a good friend always ready to help.
“He could always tell if you were down, and you could always count on Matos to brighten your day,” said friend and teammate Pfc. Erik Strecker. “He was always there with that big grin on his face and a hand on your shoulder, telling a bad joke that you couldn’t help but laugh at.”
While both Lee and Strecker peppered their comments with humor, Strecker choked back sobs toward the end of his remarks.
“He was taken from us too soon,” Strecker said. “Matos, you leave behind your friends, family and loved ones, but we will never forget you, my friend. You meant the world to us, and may you forever rest in peace.”