- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Octave Shield
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Cpl. Juan Cabral Banuelos
Died January 31, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
25, of Emporia, Kan.; assigned to Company A, 4th Forward Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division (Mech), Fort Hood, Texas; killed Jan. 31 when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Kirkuk, Iraq.
Kansan among three soldiers killed in explosion in Iraq
EMPORIA, Kan. — A Kansan was one of three soldiers killed in an explosion in Iraq, the Defense Department said.
The department identified the dead as Cpl. Juan Carlos Cabral Banuelos, 25, who had moved to Emporia from Utah while a teenager; Sgt. Eliu Miersandoval, 27, of San Clemente, Calif., and Pfc. Holly McGeogh, 19, of Taylor, Mich. It said they died Jan. 31 when an improvised explosive device hit their vehicle in a convoy near Kirkuk.
The three were assigned to Company A, 4th Forward Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas.
A cousin, Marisol Gomez, said Cabral was a native of Jeres, Mexico who spent most of his childhood in Riverdale, Utah, moving to Emporia with his family as a teenager and graduating from high school there.
She said he was a popular student in high school who dreamed of enlisting in the Army after graduation. He became an Army mechanic and was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas before being sent to Iraq.
Gomez said he will be buried in Utah, where most of his family lives.
An aunt, Laura Banuelos, said that during a visit last fall Cabral talked about his pride in serving his country.
“He did tell us, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be OK,”’ she said. “His last words were, ‘You guys always have to remember that I’m doing something I wanted to do. I’m serving my country, and I’m proud of it.’ It’s hard for us, but we know he died doing something he enjoyed.”
A sister, Rocio Cabral of Wichita, said he enlisted to improve his life and himself.
“He always encouraged us to do more in our lives and said that if we really wanted to do something, if we put our head into it, we could do it — because he did it.”
Shortly after joining the Army, Cabral returned to Utah and reunited with Anita, a girlfriend when he lived there. Rocia Cabral said that when he moved to Emporia he had promised to marry Anita and eventually did. He adopted her son, Fabian, now 7, and in August 2002 the couple had another son, Manuel. The family had lived in Texas while Cabral was stationed at Fort Hood.
Anita Cabral, 24, told the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah, that she met her husband-to-be when she was a young child. The pair married in September 1998, a few months after Cabral enlisted.
“He was proud of his boys, proud of his family ... I’m going to go back to Utah and raise my boys like he wanted me to,” she said.
She said her husband loved to tinker, especially on his 1963 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport. That love of cars helped make him a light-truck mechanic in the military.
Rocio Cabral said her brother was a fun-loving, outgoing man.
“He was a very happy person — always smiling, making funny faces, sticking out his tongue, doing something to make us laugh,” she said. “Where he was, everybody was happy.”
Soldier killed in Iraq will be buried Wednesday
SOUTH OGDEN, Utah — Funeral services are planned Feb. 11 for a soldier killed in an explosion in Iraq.
Juan Carlos Cabral Banuelos, will be posthumously awarded a Bronze Star, a second Purple Heart and a promotion to sergeant at a burial ceremony at Washington Heights Memorial Park in South Ogden. That will precede the 10 a.m. funeral at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ogden.
His mother, who has been jailed since Jan. 4 on methamphetamine and driving without a license charges, will be allowed to attend her son’s funeral. A judge agreed to let Angela Cabral attend both a Tuesday memorial service Tuesday and the funeral.
Juan Cabral was born in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico, on Sept. 11, 1978, and moved to Ogden with his family a year later. He attended Ogden High School before moving to Emporia, Kan., with his mother during his junior year, after his parents had divorced.
He joined the U.S. Army soon after graduation. Cabral, who had been in Iraq since April 4 as a mechanic with Company A, 4th Forward Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, was scheduled to return home in about a month.
A Mexican national, the 25-year-old was also set to become a U.S. citizen in April.
Cabral was among three soldiers killed Jan. 31 when their vehicle struck a homemade explosive device near the northern city of Kirkuk.
He leaves behind his wife, Anita, and two young sons, ages 7 and 18 months old. They arrived in Utah from Texas on Friday.
— Associated Press