LAWTON, OK, US
CPL, CO C, 2D BN, 14TH INF, FORT DRUM, NY
03/31/2007, BAGHDAD, IRAQ
Wilfred Flores Jr. always knew that he was destined to do something in the military, a tradition in the Flores family. Wilfred Flores Sr. and his wife, Vicky, were both in the military and had settled in Jr.’s hometown of Lawton after they had retired.
Flores joined the Army in June of 2004. “My brother wanted to be a soldier ever since he was old enough to talk,” remembers Theresa, Wilfred’s only sibling. “I just want people to know he was a good man, and a lot of people loved him.”
Flores had joined the U.S. Army immediately after graduating from Eisenhower High School in 2004. He really wanted to make a difference and was disappointed when he was first assigned to an airport tower to do paperwork recalls Vicky Flores, Wilfred’s mother and a Gulf War veteran. “He wanted to be in the infantry, but he took the job because it was all they were offering at the time. As soon as there was an opening in the infantry, he volunteered to be reassigned. He was always volunteering – for the Army; for the infantry; for Iraq… That’s the way he was.”
Flores volunteered for infantry knowing that this re-assignment would mean deployment to Iraq. He began his first tour in Iraq in 2004 and his second tour of Iraq in February 2007.
Vicky Flores knew that something had happened to her son when two military personnel showed up at her Lawton home. “I was outside gardening and they walked up behind us. I knew what had happened when I saw them,” she said of the Army personnel who informed her that her son, Spc. Wilfred Flores Jr., had died in Iraq over the weekend.
“I saw a couple of uniformed soldiers walking up to the house,” Flores’ sister recalls. “Instantly, I knew what it meant. I was crushed.”
Flores, 20, died March 31 in Baghdad from wounds received when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle in which they were riding, according to defense officials. Vicky Flores said she was told that her son and several other soldiers were on patrol in a Humvee when it was hit by a roadside bomb.
Vicky Flores also said that her son was very religious, very generous and believed “God had a hand in everything.” “He loved his job,” she said. “He was there because he wanted to be there. He died doing what he loved the most.”
“He had no regrets,” she said. “He told me once ‘Mom I’m not especially a big fan of being in Iraq, but I love my job.’” Flores would have turned 21 on April 10th and the family was happy to have received an e-mail from Wilfred the day before he was killed as his last, loving words to them.