Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ismael Solorio reported killed in Iraq

A 21-year-old San Luis, Ariz., soldier, who won two Purple Hearts for wounds he received in two previous tours of duty in Iraq, was killed during his third tour, a family member said Tuesday.

Jesus Solorio said his family was informed of the death of his brother, Army Sgt. Ismael Solorio, around 7 p.m. Monday by military officials who came to their south county home.

"I was shocked," said Jesus Solorio, an English tutor at Arizona Western College in San Luis. "My sister told me later that night when I got home from my class at AWC."

Ismael Solorio, who had been serving in Baghdad, was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. A newlywed, he leaves behind a wife and a young child.

"He came back home on leave for a week in January to see his daughter and get married," Jesus Solorio said of his older brother's most recent visit.

He is the son of Ismael and Amelia Solorio of San Luis, Ariz. He also leaves behind two brothers and two sisters.

Jesus Solorio said he does not know how or when his brother died because he didn't ask for any details when his family informed him that Ismael had been killed.

"I didn't want to know. My family knows more then I do."

The Department of Defense has not yet confirmed Solorio's death, stating it does not post the names of troops who are killed in action until 24 hours after the family has been notified.

Other members of the Solorio family, when contacted, declined to comment, saying they weren't ready to speak of the death.

The son of migrant farm workers, Ismael Solorio turned down several college scholarships to join the Army in 2003 after graduating from Kofa High School, according to his brother.

"He made us so proud," Jesus Solorio said. "I remember he was only 17 then so he needed our parents' signature to enlist."

Jesus Solorio described his older brother, who would have turned 22 on May 16, as your typical fun-loving Kofa High School honor student.

"His decision to join the Army came out of nowhere," Jesus said. "He was an outstanding soldier."

According to his brother, Ismael Solorio was wounded twice in Iraq during his previous two deployments, having been shot once in the head by a sniper and another time when shrapnel from a roadside bomb struck his hand.

"The first time we were told to expect the worst because he was gravely injured," Jesus said. "He got shot through the cheek and shattered his jaw. He didn't have any teeth."

Ismael Solorio was awarded a Purple Heart for each of the injuries, according to his brother.

Arnold Trujillo, AWC coordinator of student services, who knows both Jesus and Ismael, said he went to give his condolences to the Solorios on Tuesday after learning of the family's loss.

"The family is extremely heartbroken," Trujillo said.

From the Sun