The Department of Defense announced the names of three soldiers who were killed in combat in Afghanistan over the weekend. One of the men who was killed was from Las Cruces.

28 year old Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, and 28 year old Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez of San Antonio died Saturday from injuries they suffered in combat. Sgt. Rodriguez was born in Las Cruces and graduated from Mayfield High School in 2009. He enlisted in the Army in October 2009. He and Sgt. Gutierrez were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The commander of the 7th Special Forces Group called Sgt. Rodriguez "selfless and served honorably". He said he was "certainly among the best in our unit.” Sgt. Rodriguez was deployed eight times with the 75th Ranger Regiment and twice with 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, as part of anti-terrorism missions.

Both Sgt. Rodriguez and Sgt. Gutierrez were posthumously promoted from staff sergeant to Sergeant First Class. They were also awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.

We forget sometimes that we still have troops in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan. We forget that their families are praying every moment of every day for their safe return, and that, tragically, some of those troops will not come home.

Please pray for the families of Sgt. Rey Rodriguez and Sgt. Javier Gutierrez. Pray that their families find some small measure of solace that they were heroes fighting for our country. Pray that we don't lose anymore troops to these wars.

May Sgt. Rodriguez and Sgt. Gutierrez rest in peace.

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