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Army Spc. Israel Garza

Died April 4, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

25, of Lubbock, Texas; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed April 4 when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire in Baghdad.

Spc. Israel Garza made a good friend in the Army, someone who was 25 and married like he was, someone who resembled him enough that the two could switch clothes to play pranks on others. At Fort Hood, Texas, Garza and Spc. Robert Arsiaga had family cookouts together. In Iraq, they died together. The two were killed April 4 along with six other soldiers as their convoy fought Shiite militiamen in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City. Garza, of Lubbock, Texas, and his wife, Guadalupe Silva, had two sons, Israel Jr., 2, and Michael, 4 months. Garza also had a daughter, Brianna, 9, and son, Steven, 8, from previous relationships, said Garza's mother, Dinah Rodriguez. Rodriguez said her son had wanted her to meet Arsiaga: "He said, 'They say we look so much alike.'" She said she had tried to dissuade her son from joining the military in September 2001, but a week before he went to Iraq, she told him she had finally accepted his decision. "I'm glad that I got to tell him how proud I was of him," she said.

— Associated Press

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2002   2001

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