Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bruce Salazar remembered by father

Bruce Salazar Sr. of Springdale last heard from his son on Father’s Day.

Army Pfc. Bruce C. Salazar Jr., who moved to Fayetteville in 2003 and lived with his best friend’s family, called from Iraq to wish his dad well.

“He called me and said ‘ Get your old ass up, old man, ’” the elder Salazar said Wednesday. “And I told him ‘ Sundays are my only days off. I’m sleeping. ’”

Bruce Salazar Sr. went back to sleep and never had another opportunity to tell his son he loved him.

An Army representative came to his house Saturday to tell him his 24-year-old son was killed last Friday after a roadside bomb exploded in Muhammad Sath, Iraq.

Bruce Salazar Jr. was an infantryman with the 1 st Battalion, 30 th Infantry Regiment, 2 nd Brigade Combat Team, 3 rd Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart, Ga., according to the Department of Defense.

Salazar enlisted in 2006 and deployed to Iraq in May, a department spokesman said.

Bruce Salazar said he never wanted his son, who loved baseball and dreamed of being a fighter pilot, to go to Iraq.

“He’s my only son, and he’s the only one to carry my name on,” he said. “To me, it’s a ridiculous war.”

The younger Salazar followed his best friend, Ronnie Jacques, to Northwest Arkansas after dropping out of high school. He worked at several area companies, mostly heavy lifting for National Home Center in Springdale while completing his GED. Jacques, 24, said Salazar, whom he went to school with in Davis, Calif., saw the military as a ticket to a better life. After the war, Salazar planned to help his mom, Suzie Ruiz of Modesto, Calif., buy a house, and then use some of the Army money to put a down payment on a home in Florida, Jacques said. “He wanted to start over with a clean slate,” Jacques said. Salazar’s body arrived stateside Wednesday and his funeral will be held in northern California, friends and family said.

From the Democrat Gazette

Related Link:
Bruce C. Salazar Jr. dies 'of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device'