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Army Spc. Joseph L. Martinez

Died August 27, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Las Vegas; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; killed Aug. 27 when his dismounted patrol was engaged by enemy forces using small-arms fire in Tal Afar, Iraq.

Martinez was enthusiastic about military

The Associated Press

Joseph L. Martinez didn’t hesitate for a moment when he signed up for the Army before graduating high school in 2002.

“He would go to school with his Ranger shirt on,” said Toni Williams, his girlfriend. “He wanted to fight. He didn’t join it for the money or the benefits. He always had an American flag in his room.”

Martinez, 21, of Las Vegas, died Aug. 27 in Tal Afar, Iraq, when his patrol was hit by small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort Carson, Colo.

In high school, he was a member of the swim team and the Junior ROTC color guard. He was a favorite of ROTC instructor, Lt. Col. James McEvoy.

Martinez wrote a personal note in his yearbook as follows, “Colonel Mac, please don’t be mad at me, but I have enlisted in the Army because that is my choice. I’ll come by when I can.”

“He was a quiet individual, but I’ve never known anybody with so much courage and determination,” said his mother, Cynthia Martinez. “He was going to do everything to protect his buddies.

“We all knew it was pretty much his destiny.”

Said his father, Larry Martinez: “He was willing to die for his country. It just happened so quick.”

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