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Army Spc. Jose Amancio Perez III

Died May 28, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of San Diego, Texas; assigned to 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Sill, Okla.; killed May 28 when the convoy he was traveling in was ambushed in Taji, Iraq.

Jose Amancio Perez III enlisted in the Army in July 2000, and arrived at Fort Sill, Okla., in February 2001. An Army medic, he was killed on May 28 when his convoy was ambushed in Taji, Iraq.

Yolanda Torres, one of Perez’s teachers at San Diego High School, said the loss resonated in the city of fewer than 5,000.

“You know it’s like one of our own,” she said.

“I thought the war was over,” said Candice Benavides, Perez’s cousin. “This was the last thing I expected.”

Family members said they found strength in knowing how proud Perez was to be serving in the military. “I’m very proud of him,” Benavides said. “You know the work he did out there.”

— Associated Press

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