CARROLLTON, TX, USA U.S. Army CPL, HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 22D INFANTRY, FORT HOOD, TX BAGHDAD, IRAQ 10/22/2006
One of America’s most celebrated musicians, Bob Dylan, once said, “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.”
Nathaniel Aguirre, 21 years old, understood the degree of responsibility that came with his freedom beyond the scope of what most of us will ever know. He, like so many brave men and women serving in our United States Armed Forces, gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect not only his freedom but that of those he left behind.
But heroes are not born, they are made. They are molded with love and heartache, encouragement and guidance, faith in our Lord and the innate motivation to serve others.
In May 1996, when his mother, Mary, was battling breast cancer, Nathaniel, just 11 years old, joined the Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scout Troop 725 was not just an extracurricular activity, but a distraction from the harsh realities unfolding at home. Rock climbing became his other passion in his formative years. The grace of leadership and taste of adventure Boy Scouts gave Nathaniel lay the foundation for his heroic future.
At just 17, Nathaniel enlisted in the United States Army Reserves and attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After receiving his high school diploma from Creekview High School, he attended training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, as a member of Foxtrot Company, 232nd Medical Battalion, 32nd Medical Brigade. He then continued his military education by attending Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and earned his Airborne wings. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Bravo Company, 168th Medical Battalion, 18th Medical Command, 8th US Army in Yongsan, South Korea. In May 2005, he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team,4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He deployed to Iraq two days after his 21st birthday, December 13, 2005, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On the morning of October 22, 2006, Nathaniel was on combat patrol with Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Craig Osborne in Khan Dhari, a village in Western Baghdad. He was serving in Commander Osborne’s Personal Security Detachment. Nathaniel and his fellow troops encountered enemy fire. Nathaniel Aaron Aguirre perished when shot by a sniper. On that morning, a hero was not born – a hero was revealed. Nathaniel leaves behind his parents and treasured younger sister Melissa, who had known her brother as a hero long before it was revealed to the rest of us.
Monday, December 11, 2006, would have been Nathaniel’s 22nd birthday. Among the many honors bestowed in memory of his heroic acts, Nathaniel was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Army Good Conduct Medal. While these honors will never bring him back, they serve as markers in our nation’s history, identifying Nathaniel as an American who understood his degree of responsibility to our Nation and his fellow Americans.
“Deeds not Words” Regulars by God!