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Army Staff Sgt. Oscar D. Vargas Medina

Died May 1, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

32, of Chicago; assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, Hawaii; killed May 1 when his convoy was attacked in Amarah, Iraq.

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‘The Army was his life, his family’

Army Times staff

“I want the world to know what a wonderful husband I had,” said Beate Medina, wife of Army Staff Sgt. Oscar Medina. “His dedication to the Army was exceptional.”

Medina, of Chicago, was killed May 1 when a group of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army militia attacked a military supply convoy outside the southern Iraq city of Amarah.

Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda, 22, of Ramona, Calif., also died in the attack, the Defense Department said in a statement.

Medina and Ojeda were assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (Light) based at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu.

Born in Cali, Columbia, Oscar Medina was cared for by his grandmother, Ofelia Medina, until he was 8 years old, when they both moved to the United States to join his mother in Chicago. He became a citizen of the United States in 2001.

“He loved his grandmother over everything,” Beate Medina said. “If you could have seen them together the bond between him and his grandmother was so special. I am proud that he felt that way; that made him the special person he was.”

Medina joined the Army in 1993 and decided to make it his career, said his wife, who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. “The Army was his life, his family,” she said.

He had a 13-year-old son, Daniel, from his first marriage, Beate Medina said. The boy lives with his mother.

“He loved his son very, very much and was very proud of him because he is so smart and a very good student at school,” she said.

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Soldier called mom days before his death

CHICAGO — A 32-year-old soldier killed in Iraq had called his mom in Kissimmee, Fla., two days before his death to say her Mother’s Day present was on the way.

His mother, Francia Lopez, said she last heard from her son on Thursday, when he called to thank her for a package of photographs and candy.

“I feel destroyed. He was my first born and he had no father,” Lopez said in a phone interview from her Kissimmee, Fla., home.

Lopez said her son had been deployed to Kosovo, Korea and Kuwait during his years in the Army. He joined the ROTC program in high school after they moved to the United States from Cali, Colombia.

“He loved the Army. He used to say the Army is the best place to be. He felt strongly about going to Iraq. He felt it was necessary to fight for their freedom,” Lopez said.

— Associated Press

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