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Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ruel M. Garcia

Died January 16, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

34, of Wahiawa, Hawaii; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment (Attack), Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed Jan. 16 when his AH64D Apache helicoptor was shot down while he was conducting an aerial patrol in Baghdad. Also killed was Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rex C. Kenyon.

Army pilot killed in Iraq buried in native Philippines

By Pat Roque

Associated Press

VALENZUELA, Philippines — A Philippine-born Army pilot whose helicopter was shot down in Iraq was buried in his native town Tuesday with full U.S. military honors.

Chief Warrant Officer Ruel Garcia, 34, of Wahiawa, Hawaii, was killed Jan. 16 while assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas.

He received posthumously the Bronze Star, the fourth highest U.S. military award for gallantry in action, as well as the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

“As these medals demonstrate, his bravery in the field, professional aviation skills, and devotion to his adopted country will always be remembered,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement, as the Army provided full military burial honors in suburban Valenzuela city, next to his hometown of Obando.

“Chief Garcia made the ultimate sacrifice so that his fellow men can live in peace and freedom,” the embassy said.

Garcia was at least the third Filipino-American soldier killed on duty in Iraq and buried in the Philippines.

“We are grateful as this makes the heaviness in our hearts a little bearable,” Garcia’s father, Rosendo, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We believe he died for something good.”

The family did not make any statements at Tuesday’s burial.

Born in the Philippines on Aug. 24, 1971, Garcia graduated from a Manila college with a degree in electrical engineering before moving to the U.S. in 1987.

He attended the adult high school at Waipahu at nights to get a high school diploma. With that, he got into the Air Force in 1992, where he served for four years. After he became a naturalized citizen, he switched to the Army to attend helicopter flight school.

He is survived by his wife, Apple, of Harker Heights, Texas.

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