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SGT Raymond Chavez Alcaraz, Jr

173rd Brigade Support Battalion 173rd Airborne brigade support team
US Army

SGT Alcaraz's Act of Heroism

Raymond was the sole combat medic in a 4 vehicle convoy on a mission to deliver humanitarian supplies to a local vehicle when his MATV hit an IED in the Logar Province instantly killing Raymond and 3 other soldiers.

My Hero

Raymond enlisted at the age of 17 after graduating high school. He used to skip school to go on ride alongs at the local firestation as he had a passion to become a paramedic. He enlisted and became an Airborne Combat medic saving numerous lives i nhis platoon. He is also credited helping save numerous local children in the area of FOB SHank where he was stationed. What was probably the most incredible thing to happen was at his funeral service where over 140 people gave their life to the Lord or rededicated their lives to Jesus Christ. So even in death he was saving lives.


On Aug 31st 2010 at 12pm, our lives changed forever. I have always respected the fellow men in uniform, as veterans we just have that respect for each other. We can rib each other if you either a Marine or like myself the Navy, or the Air Force. But when it comes to being a veteran, we are all brothers. On this day, the Army came knocking on my door. And I hated the sight of them as I knew that my worst fears came true, Before they said a word, I fell on my knees and cried. “Not little Raymond”. “Not our smiling young soldier who was having the time of his life In the Army”. But in the end, it is not the Army I hated. It was my fears of losing Raymond that I hated the most.
But then I cried out to God, and asked for strength. The first thing Alma and I did was pray, and then prayed some more until we couldn’t find any more words. We had this comfort come over us, from the Lord saying” It’s ok..he is my son, I have brought him home and he is safe.” No more pain, no more sorrow of this world.

This is where our strength lies, In the Lord Jesus and his grace he has upon us. He knows our pain, as he also died for us. But he did not stay dead. He rose again and is alive. Just Like Raymond. Raymond is not dead. He is alive, he is singing and dancing with the Angels who have welcomed him home. And Raymond is telling all of us “That it is ok…I am with The Angels of the Lord”. What else can you say then. Ray has finished his race, fought the good fight. He is making everyone laugh in Heaven laugh right now, making jokes and showing off his new perfect body and smile. A smile that was so bright here on earth, can you imagine when we see him again how bright it will be…

As a parent, you want to bottle up your child in an air tight seal and keep them at the precious age forever. For me.. it was 10 years old. You love this age because by the time they turn 13, they want nothing to do with you, its not cool to be around mom and dad. They would rather be around their friends.You hate that part.. Then they graduate high school and you say your job as a parent is is done. But it is not done. You want to have your son always ask you for advice, ask you for help. As they go into the world, you know the heart aches they will feel…the broken heart or a relationship that didn’t last or the disappointment of job loss. We don’t want our kids to ever feel the pain we have endured. But we also know they have to make their own choices. And Raymond made a choice to join the Army, to be with his brother. He knew the challenges and risks involved. And so did we.
When Raymond graduated from one school to the next in his first year In the Army, Alma and I flew to all parts of the country to see this young boy mature into a man. Our proudest moment was seeing him make his final jump to become Airborne. A sky soldier of the 173rd Airborne Brigade.. just like his brother. He was so proud of himself and to the smile on his face when he us saw filming him complete that final jump gave me goose bumps. I could not believe our little Raymond just jumped out of a perfectly good plane and was smiling about it.
Then just like that, Raymond was off to Germany to join his unit. Then he made that final call home before heading to Afghanistan in May 2008. When we found out he was on Bagram airbase.. where he wouldn’t be where his brother was In the hills fighting the enemy everyday, we were relieved. But on July 13th, 2008 we heard Lucas platoon was over run by the enemy, and 9 soldiers were killed and 27 injured at the battle of Wanat We had no word for several days but then, word that Lucas was coming home Alive, but escorting his best friend home who was killed. That changed us and Lucas as we knew the heartache and pain was going to be deep. But we were also grateful for Lucas coming home.
Raymond was so worried but once he found out Lucas was ok..they met in Bagram air base and spent 7 hours together. Here in a lonely country half way around the world together, brothers comforting each other. Never in his dreams did Lucas think his little brother would be in combat with him 11 years after he joined the army

And Never would we think 2 years later, our medic, our soldier who was saving Afghan children lives and fellow soldiers lives, would be taken from us in an instant. Raymond had 43 days till heading back to Germany. Then 8 more months till he got out and to live out his dream to be a fire fighter.He called us just a week before, wanting us to help him by a short sale home when he gets out next year. We saw a man coming into his own.
But none of that will come to be…as Ray is home with his Father in heaven in his glory. And one day Raymond, in a blink of an eye, we will be there and you will welcome us home too. Thank you for the years you gave us on this earth, but it is eternity I look forward to when we see each again.

Paul Murphy


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