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Army Spc. Roberto L. Martinez-Salazar

Died February 4, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Long Beach, Calif.; assigned to Company A, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed Feb. 4 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his up-armored Humvee during patrol operations in Mosul, Iraq.

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Long Beach combat engineer killed in Iraq blast

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Army Spc. Roberto L. Martinez Salazar died Saturday when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle in Mosul as he patrolled for planted explosives, according to the military.

Martinez Salazar, 21, of Long Beach, planned to get married when he returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq and make a career out of the military, his relatives said.

“He was just a kid, a kid, a lovely kid,” his aunt, Isabel Enciso, said during the combat engineer’s funeral on Monday. “I don’t know why God decided to take him but now he has an angel to sing and praise him. I know he did this for us, for all the people not just for the family, but just for all the people in this country and in Iraq.”

Martinez Salazar was born in Mexico and moved to Long Beach as a child. He enlisted in the Army in March 2003 and recently re-enlisted.

He was a member of Company A, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Brig. Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, presented Martinez Salazar’s mother with the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart medals, as well as a posthumous U.S. citizenship certificate.

— Associated Press

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