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Army Pvt. 2 Rey D. Cuervo

Died December 28, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Laguna Vista, Texas; assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Polk, La.; killed in action while on a mounted patrol when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle, on Dec. 28 in Baghdad.

Memorial service held for Fort Polk-based soldier killed in Iraq

Associated Press

FORT POLK, La. — An Army private killed in Iraq was recalled in a Jan. 14 memorial service as a friend to his family and his fellow soldiers.

Pvt. Rey D. Cuervo, 24, was killed Dec. 28 in Baghdad when an explosive device hit his mounted patrol. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Polk.

More than 100 family, friends and colleagues gathered at a chapel here to remember Cuervo Wednesday. Lt. Col. Joseph Conn, an Army chaplain, spoke about the importance of friendship, saying Cuervo had been a friend to many of those in attendance.

The eulogy was delivered by 1st Sgt. Kevin Strickland, who is assigned to Cuervo’s former regiment. Strickland gave a synopsis of Cuervo’s life: his hometown of Laguna Vista, Texas, his mother and stepfather, his joining the Army in September 1999 and arrival at Fort Polk in June 2003.

Another service is scheduled Thursday for Sgt. Craig Davis, a veteran soldier from Opelousas who was one of those killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq last week.

Davis, 37, was a member of the Army’s Warrior Brigade from Fort Polk and had planned to retire from the Army in about nine months. The UH-60 helicopter was flying Davis and others to Baghdad when it went down on Thursday.

Texan killed in Baghdad

LAGUNA VISTA, Texas — Pvt. Rey D. Cuervo always knew he wanted to be a soldier and he warned his family of the risks he faced as he went off to war in Iraq, his mother remembered.

Cuervo, 24, of Laguna Vista, was killed Sunday in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device hit his mounted patrol. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Polk, La.

“He was five years old and he said, ‘You know I’m going to be a soldier,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll believe you when you leave, when I see you in a uniform. Well, he did it,”’ Rosalba Kuhn said, recalling a conversation with her only son.

When he left for Iraq he said, “Mom, you know where I’m going, probably I’m not coming back.”

She last heard from Cuervo on Christmas Day, or Friday in Iraq.

“I asked him how was his Christmas. He said, ‘Here they don’t celebrate Christmas, but I was guarding a church.”’

After Kuhn told him she would be working as usual at the brewing company, Cuervo told her how much he missed being home.

“He said, ‘Yeah, mom, You know I can close my eyes and see the Oyster Bar and Whataburger. I can smell the Whataburger.”

He had just bought a camera to send pictures and had sent money home for his parents to buy a computer so that he could e-mail more frequently.

“He and I talked almost every day on line,” Cuervo’s stepfather, Thomas Kuhn, said. “But I missed him that last day.”

A military official came to the house with the news Sunday morning.

“You open the door at 9 o’clock and there’s an officer standing there, you know exactly what happened,” Thomas Kuhn said.

He said Cuervo would have wanted them to be strong.

“He said that was his job, that was what he was going to do.”

Cuervo joined the Army in September 1999 and arrived at Fort Polk in June 2003.

Five other soldiers from the squadron, whose names were not released, were injured in the attack and taken to military medical facilities.

— Associated Press

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