EAGLE PASS, TX, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY B, 64TH FORWARD SUPPORT BATTALION, FORT CARSON, CO 80906 BAGHDAD, IRAQ 07/09/2003
Army Sgt. Melissa Valles, 26, of Eagle Pass, Texas, died Wednesday, July 9, 2003 from non-combat injuries. The accident in Balad, a city 55 miles north of Baghdad, made Valles the second female service member to die in Iraq.
Valles was with the headquarters detachment of 64th Forward Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Carson, Colorado.
Sgt. Melissa Valles was a soldier through and through. When she reported to superiors at work, she always stood at parade rest shoulders back, hands clasped behind her back, feet spread slightly apart.
“When she came in, she was squared-away. Total soldier. She always showed proper respect and always was pushing the troops,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cathy Mihm, who worked down the hall from Valles at Fort Carson.
Growing up south of San Antonio on the Mexico border, younger sister Maribel Valles said, the 5-foot-3 Melissa Valles assumed the role of head of the household even though she had two older brothers. “She was petite, but she was a really tough lady,” Maribel Valles said. “She really put people in their place. She did that since she was a girl. She would put little boys who were bullies in their place.”
Melissa Valles graduated from Eagle Pass High School in 1995 with honors and played on the basketball team.
She was in the military six years and had just re-enlisted for an additional two years, Maribel Valles said. “She was dedicated to the Army; she did a lot in so little time.”
Melissa Valles had been stationed in Iraq for about three months.