Texas Family Mourns Loss of Second Son To War

From MSN.com:

Mourning twice over
Texas family grieving over death of son in Iraq loses another in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:10 p.m. ET July 26, 2006

LUBBOCK, Texas - Less than two years ago, Roy Velez got the worst news a father could get: His oldest son was dead, killed during combat in Iraq.

This week, his pain only deepened with news that his youngest son had died in Afghanistan.

Military officials notified the Velez family Tuesday of the death of Army Spc. Andrew Velez, 22. His brother, Army Cpl. Jose A. Velez, 23, died in November 2004 in Fallujah when his unit came under fire while clearing an enemy stronghold.

“I can’t be angry. I feel like my heart’s been pulled out,” Roy Velez said Tuesday. “We’ve done what the Lord allowed us to do for our country.”

The family lost its only sons; there is one daughter.

The military does not have a regulation prohibiting the deployment of family members at the same time. But families can request that relatives return home if one is killed or disabled.

After his brother’s death, the military gave Andrew Velez the option of not returning to combat, Roy Velez said. But Andrew Velez told his father he wanted to return to fight, his father said.

“You always do it for your buddy next to you,” Roy Velez recalled his younger son saying.

Roy Velez last talked to Andrew Velez on the phone Saturday. His son told him he’d had “six close calls” as they tracked Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and that he was tired.

‘I'll see you in August’
He was scheduled to return for 10 days of leave during the last week of August. “He said, ’Daddy, I’ll see you in August,”’ Roy Velez said.

Andrew Velez joined the Army about five years ago. He graduated in 2002 from Estacado High School in Lubbock. During his school years, he wrestled, played football and basketball and ran track. He also loved playing golf.

His older brother, Jose, joined the Army after graduating from the same high school in 2000 and hoped to attend medical school one day. He played football and was an honor student.

After his death, Jose Velez was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and a Silver Star. But burglars stole them all from his parents’ home in June.

On Monday, the medals were replaced, thanks to the assistance of U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, Roy Velez said. “And today at 12:30 I learned my other son was killed in action,” he said.

Andrew Velez’s survivors include his wife, Veronica Velez; a daughter, Jasmine Jade, 5; and two sons, Jordan Davis, 3, and Jacob Andrew, 2.
I'm lighting a candle for these poor folks. Their pride in their sons is justified.
May God bless the Velez family now. May light perpetual shine upon these two young men. RIP.
Yes, I feel very, very sorry for them. RIP

May I also say that if I were in their predicament, I would be condemning their administration!

But that's not what this is about so

I don't know if there are any words that could console this poor man for the loss of his sons but he's in my prayers.

Oh, Jesus...from CNN:

Army: Second son's death was suicide
Brothers are first U.S. siblings to die in Iraq, Afghanistan

Thursday, August 3, 2006; Posted: 10:39 p.m. EDT (02:39 GMT)

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- One of two brothers who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide, family and military officials said Thursday.

Army Spc. Andrew Velez, 22, died last month in Afghanistan, a little more than a year after his older brother, Cpl. Jose "Freddy" Velez, 23, was killed in Iraq. They are the first brothers to die in the two conflicts, the military said.

A military document, confirmed by the family, says Velez shot himself July 25. Military officials and the soldier's father said Velez had been having marital problems.

Roy Velez said his grief keeps him up at night.

"It's not easy to sleep," he said. But "I'm proud of my sons. I miss them, but it was to defend their country, their God. They volunteered to go."

Veronica Velez declined to comment Thursday. The couple has three children, ages 2, 3 and 5.

Velez joined the Army shortly after graduating from high school in 2002. He escorted his older brother's body back from Iraq in 2004. Freddy Velez was killed when his unit came under fire in Falluja. Despite the loss, Andrew Velez signed on for another six years in the military in March, his father said.

Freddy Velez joined the Army in 2000 after graduating from high school. He was deployed to Iraq in March 2003.

A memorial service for Andrew Velez was planned for Thursday evening.
How much more do these poor people have to go through?
Very Sad,lost a stepson in the RAF three years ago,very hard to come to terms with or get over,thoughts with the family.


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