HAMILTON, NJ, US
1LT, TROOP F, 2ND SQD, 3RD ARMORED CAVALRY REGT, FORT HOOD, TX
04/22/2011, AL KUT, IRAQ
Army First Lieutenant Omar J. Vazquez died in Southern Iraq on April 22, 2011 of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to Fox Troup, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. He and his unit were supporting Operation New Dawn. 1LT Vazquez was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
Twenty-five year old Omar was from Hamilton, New Jersey. He grew up in Trenton and moved to Hamilton. He had a strong love of democracy and even as a child all of his toys were Army-related. Even as a little boy, he was known to be very patriotic and expressed his desire to serve his country. He also enjoyed playing paintball, handball and was an avid reader. He had a passion for books on United States and world history, but his dedication was focused on service to his country.
His intent for service was clearly demonstrated as he lost 100 pounds just to get into the New Jersey National Guard. This training and persistence for readiness served him well in 2009, when he served at a leader’s training course at Fort Knox, Kentucky assisting new ROTC cadets before he was subsequently assigned to Fort Hood as a field artillery officer.
Omar Vazquez graduated from McCorristin Catholic High School, now Trenton Catholic Academy, in 2003. He earned an associate’s degree from Mercer County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in history from Rider University, and a master’s degree in liberal arts from Rutgers University at Camden.
Affectionately known to his friends and family as “Bebe”, he was well-read and intelligent. He enjoyed dinners and watching Star Trek with family. He also kept in close weekly phone contact with a childhood friend. The men had been neighbors for seventeen years. As they talked about their futures, a military career was clearly Omar’s choice. There were times when his friend expressed concern for Omar’s safety, but Omar would always tell him: “If I had to go, there’s no better way to go than serving my country. But you don’t need to worry about me.”
Patriot Guard Riders and flags at half-staff saluted Omar’s strong sense of dedicated patriotism. Family pride for this patriotism and his accomplishments include remembrance of his continuous smile, his intelligence, as well as his peacemaking and friendship making abilities.
Those who keep his memory include his parents and grandparents, his two brothers and a sister, nieces and nephews; and many other cousins, relatives and friends.