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Army Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma

Died May 15, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

34, of Abilene, Texas; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed May 15 when an improvised explosive device exploded near his Bradley fighting vehicle in Baghdad.

Fort Hood soldier killed in Iraq

Associated Press

KILLEEN, Texas — Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma was a devoted family man who joined the Army to give his wife and children a better life, his wife recalled Monday.

Ledesma, 34, died Saturday in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device exploded near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, defense officials said. The incident is under investigation.

He joined the Army nearly eight years ago to further his education, and he loved it immediately, said his wife, Martha.

“Once he was in, he knew he wanted to stay in the military,” Martha Ledesma told The Associated Press. “He was going to make it his life career. He wanted to stay in as long as he could.”

He was especially excited when he was deployed in March, she said. He was a scout in Iraq and often taught younger soldiers how to do those duties.

“I remember him saying before he left that he was going to finally be able to do what he had been training to do the past seven years,” she said.

Ledesma, who loved to fish and play basketball with the couple’s 11-year-old son, last talked to his wife and children on Friday. The couple also has a 14-year-old daughter.

“We are very proud of him,” Martha Ledesma said. “Even though he is only one person, we feel that he made a difference while he was there.”

Ledesma, who listed his home of record as Abilene, was assigned to the Army’s 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

He also is survived by his mother, father, six brothers and one sister. Funeral arrangements were pending on Monday.

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