Army Spc. Alex D. Gonzalez
Died May 6, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
21, of Mission, Texas; assigned to the 43rd Combat Engineer Company, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; died May 6 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade attack.
Mission soldier’s remains returned to Texas
The Associated Press
MISSION, Texas — A hearse carrying the remains of Spc. Alex D. Gonzalez drove past the schools he attended and past Mission residents waving American flags Tuesday in a trip down memory lane.
Vans carrying his parents, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins followed behind as the 21-year-old soldier’s body was returned from Iraq, where a rocket-propelled grenade killed him May 6.
Outside his family’s home, his 13-year-old dog Lucky barked at the hearse.
“He (Gonzalez) was just making that last stop,” Gonzalez’s uncle and godfather, Jorge Rodriguez, said in a story for Wednesday’s editions of The Monitor. “His last trip home.”
“It’s just hard to believe he’s gone,” Jorge Rodriguez said. “He was tremendous.”
Gonzalez’s body arrived at the McAllen-Miller International Airport on Tuesday on a private charter plane.
Nilda Anes stood at the airport with a sign saying “We love you.”
“I didn’t know him, but I’m part of Mothers of Military Servicemen and he was one of my boys,” Anes said.
Funeral services are set for Saturday.
Army Spc. Alex D. Gonzalez remembered
The Associated Press
Alex D. Gonzalez was last in the Rio Grande Valley while on leave in late January to see his family and celebrate his 21st birthday. It was the last time his family saw him.
“He was a prankster and a jokester,” his uncle Armando Rodriguez said. “But he always cared about everybody. He never wanted to offend anybody.”
Gonzalez, 21, of Mission, Texas, was killed May 6 in Mosul by small-arms fire and an explosive. He was a 2005 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood.
He regularly volunteered for dangerous missions, said Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim. “He knew that if he did not, one of his fellows would have to.”
Alfredo Gonzalez was dad to Alex — his biological father has been in prison since he was an infant. Alex wanted to go Army Airborne like Alfredo had.
“He told me he just wanted to be just like me, or even better,” Alfredo said. “He just wanted to wear the uniform, join the Army, ever since he was small. That’s what he was.”
After his four years in the military, Gonzalez wanted to become a Mission police officer. “He was a great young man, and I was really fond of him,” Mission police Chief Leo Longoria said.