Local Soldiers Honor A Fallen Comrade’s Promise
Graduation season is supposed to be a special time in a young person’s life. But for some, it can be bittersweet, if someone you love isn’t there to celebrate it with you. Lucky for one El Paso teenager, soldiers can be counted on to be there for the one person who can’t.
Lluvia Loeza is a recent graduate of Mountain View High School here in El Paso. Her brother, Army Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza Jr., was an infantry squad leader and headquarters platoon sergeant in Company C, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. When he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, he promised his little sister that he would be present at her graduation to watch her walk. Unfortunately, he was unable to fulfill his promise to his sister. Loeza was killed May 25th, 2012 in an indirect fire attack while serving in Afghanistan.
When it came time for Lluvia Loeza to graduate from high school, her brother Esteban wanted to surprise her. He sent a message on Facebook to some of their brother’s old unit, asking if they would be able to attend Lluvia’s graduation. Though most of his unit was currently deployed in Afghanistan, the battalion’s rear detachment, led by the battalion executive officer, Maj. George Chigi, along with Maj. Christopher Penwarden and Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks, were able to organize soldiers. More than 30 soldiers attended Lluvia Loeza’s graduation. Other soldiers from Fort Bliss who knew Loeza also attended the ceremony, to honor their fallen comrade’s promise. Maj. Chigi was also able to give Loeza her diploma at the ceremony.
The entire Loeza family was moved by the soldier’s and what they did to honor their lost loved one. Lluvia Loeza was also presented with a battalion coin, traditionally given to soldiers who show extreme excellence in their performance and duties. To read more about Lluvia Loeza and her story, check out the Department of Defense website.