State News

82nd Airborne Paratrooper Dies of Wounds in Iraq

Posted October 6, 2007 4:43 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2007 10:51 a.m. EDT

— An 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper died of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated while his unit was on a dismounted patrol in Baghdad, Iraq on Thursday, military officials said.

Sgt. Ricardo Rodriguez of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. He served as a gunner with 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

“He was a leader and a teacher to his soldiers, and his loss will be deeply felt for a long time,” Spc. Nathan Shambo, a member of Rodriguez's unit, said. “Most importantly, though, he was a son ... and a father.”

Rodriguez joined the Army in May 2004 and completed basic and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne in April 2005.

His decorations include a Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge and Parachutist’s Badge.

Rodriguez is survived by his parents, Ernesto and Anabelle Fernandez, and a son, Ricardo, all of Arecibo.

“He will be remembered for many different things,” Shambo said. “Sgt. Rodriguez will always be know for the person and American soldier that he was.”