KIA August 31, 2010
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany
Army SGT Raymond Alcaraz died August 31, 2010, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device at FOB Shank, Afghanistan. Also killed were SSG Vinson B. Adkinson III, SPC Matthew E. George and SPC James A. Page.
Raymond, a 2006 graduate of Redlands Senior High School, grew up loving the game of baseball. He dreamed of being a professional baseball player and even made the all-star team while playing Little League, but by the time he reached high school he realized that he needed to think of alternatives. “He was always small for his age,” said his stepfather, Paul Murphy. Raymond thought about becoming a firefighter and often visited stations, making appointments to accompany firefighters on calls. He once was walking to a station for a ride-along when the engine began to pull out. “He came running across the street and jumped on the call. He just didn’t want to miss anything,” said James Winter, a fire engineer for the city of Redlands. Raymond was especially interested in becoming a medic. During high school, he and several friends passed a car accident on the freeway when Raymond insisted that they stop to see if they could help. “He had a heart that wanted to help others,” said his mother.
After graduating high school, Raymond chose to enlist in the Army the following summer of 2007 at the age of 17. His older brother, Lucas, joined the Army in 1996 and Raymond aspired to follow in his footsteps.
Excerpt from poem written by Raymond:
When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin”
I’m whispering “I was lost, Now I’m found and forgiven.”
When I say… “I am a Christian” I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not trying to be strong
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say… “I am a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches so I call upon His name.
When I say… “I am a Christian” I’m not holier than thou
I’m just a simple sinner.
SGT Raymond Alcaraz, Jr. was 20 years old from Redlands, California
Original portrait was presented November 20, 2013 to his family during a special event hosted by Fleetwood-Fibre Packaging onboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, CaliforniaDONATE in memory of