PORT HUENEME, CA, USA U.S. Army SPC, HHB, 2D BATTALION, 82D FIELD ARTILLERY, 3 BCT, FORT HOOD, TX BALAD, IRAQ 10/17/2007
Vincent Madero had only been married for 6 months when he was killed. “He was so quiet, he seemed really mysterious,” his wife Ellen said about their first meeting. “I knew I wanted to get to know him.”
After some time the two began dating. Vincent brought stability to the life of Ellen and her now 3-year-old son Jamie, who called him “da da.” Vincent talked about adopting the boy in the future.“He taught us so many things,” Ellen said. “He taught us how to do things right.”
In late 2005, Vincent was sent to Iraq for what became a 16-month tour of duty. The couple kept in touch online, with phone calls and by exchanging a journal in which they wrote notes to each other. When he returned to the United States earlier this year, he asked Ellen to marry him at a special place off the highway near the Salcha River. She accepted, and the two were wed in a small ceremony in March. It was around that time that Ellen had Vincent’s name tattooed on her stomach. Vincent had her initials tattooed on his left hand.
“He told me that every time he checked the time, he’d be reminded of me,” she said.
Vincent had many hobbies but mostly he enjoyed mechanics, camping, photography, art work, and he couldn’t survive without his music. He had every CD you could ever think of. Vincent would go out of his way to help anybody. He devoted his time to making others happy and staying on top of things. Vincent was very responsible and he loved taking care of his family. He always had a smile on his face.
Vincent was a leader; he was one of a kind. He brought so much joy in his short lifetime and he will be missed dearly. He used to say to his family: “When you feel alone, look at the spaces between your fingers, remember that in those spaces you can see my fingers.”
Madero’s sister, Cassey Penn, said her brother kept in touch through e-mail, but there were times when he was so busy he couldn’t write. To check to see if he was OK, she and her brother would look at the login date on his MySpace page. He last signed on to it the day he died. His family said he didn’t talk much about the war but did not seem to have any trepidation about returning to Iraq.
“He told me he wanted to go back so he could help the younger guys,” his sister said.
Madero had trained as an artillery spotter. He had previously served in a Stryker Brigade and was manning a turret gun when the Humvee he was riding in was hit Oct. 17. It was his day off, but he volunteered to go back out.
Though he grew up in California, Vincent was fond of Alaska. He talked about getting a house with Ellen in North Pole, and eventually becoming an Alaska State Trooper or a firefighter in the state. Before his scheduled redeployment in August, Ellen and Vincent went out on a boat in Stevens Village where Ellen was born. A friend told him to remember the experience whenever he faced something difficult in Iraq.
“I remember he always called and talked about that,” Ellen said.