TRACY, CA, USA U.S. Army PFC, COMPANY B, 1ST BATTALION, 30TH INFANTRY, FORT STEWART, GA MUHAMMAD SATH, IRAQ 07/06/2007
Less than two months after he arrived in Iraq, Army Private First Class Bruce Salazar, Jr., 24, was killed by an improvised explosive device on July 6, 2007 along with Army Corporal Kory D. Wiens, 20, of Independence, Ore., and an explosives-sniffing military working dog while on patrol in Muhammad Sath, south of Baghdad.
Salazar was buried July 18, 2007 at Lakewood Memorial Cemetery in Hughson, California, near Modesto, where he was born.
After learning of Private First Class Salazar’s death, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “Words cannot adequately convey our gratitude for Private First Class Bruce Salazar’s brave sacrifice for our country. He pursued the cause of liberty with strength and resolve. Maria and I extend our deepest condolences to Bruce’s family, friends and fellow soldiers in their time of mourning.” In honor of Private First Class Salazar, the governor ordered Capitol flags flown at half-staff. Before enlisting in the Army in January 2006, Bruce lived briefly in Tracy, California. He was the seventh serviceman from that Central Valley town to be killed in the Iraq war.
In talking about his son, Bruce Salazar Sr. said: “He was a little firecracker. He was always doing something. His dream was to be a pilot, but he wanted to be in the Army.”
“He was so different from the way he used to be,” his sister, Veronica Salazar, told a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle. “He went through a fallout in his life where he didn’t care about himself. When he went through the Army, he came out a totally different person. He was so full of life. He was so happy.
Private First Class Salazar’s mother, Margaret Susan Ruiz, told the Associated Press her son had always wanted to join the armed forces. “Even as a little kid, he loved to hang around the offices of the Army and Marines.” She said her son was “good kid with a big smile” who had recently requested a baseball mitt to play catch while he was off-duty.
According to his sister, Alicia, when asked what it was like being an infantryman in Iraq, Private First Class Salazar “would change the subject. He would tell us, ‘Don’t worry about it, don’t watch TV, don’t watch the news,’ ” said his sister, Alicia. “I think he just didn’t want to scare us.”