PR soldier killed in Afghanistan
The fallen soldier was identified as Army Sgt. José Joel Reyes Cruz, 24, of San Lorenzo. He was one of two soldiers serving with the New York-based 10th Mountain Division killed when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Ghanzi on Wednesday.
The other was identified as 28-year-old Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez of Baltimore.
Both soldiers were heavy vehicle drivers assigned to the 110th Transportation Co., 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade.
Rodriguez was a 10-year Army veteran. It was his second deployment to Afghanistan. He also did two tours in Iraq. He's survived by his wife and three children.
Reyes joined the Army two years ago. He deployed to Afghanistan in April. He's survived by his wife Neydie Gómez, 6-month-old daughter Dariannis Sofía and stepson Damián, 6.
“We in San Lorenzo are saddened by this news,” Mayor Joe Román Abreu said. “José Joel was a well-known member of the municipal band and an excellent citizen and student.”
Reyes is expected to be laid to rest at Bayamón National Cemetery.
The soldier’s sister, Neysha Reyes Cruz, said her brother joined the National Guard out of high school and then enlisted in the Army.
“José Joel gave his life in the line of duty in defense of democracy,” Román Abreu said.
More than 100 U.S. military members from Puerto Rico or with roots in the island have been killed in the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.