Saturday, July 07, 2007

Victor Garcia remembered

RIALTO - From the time he was starting out in boot camp in Fort Knox, Ky., to when he was later stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash., and deployed to Iraq, Army Spc. Victor Garcia was known as Garcia by his fellow soldiers.

He was also a good friend to his Army buddies, particularly to Sgt. Jonathan Hibbard, and a highly intelligent young man who was selected to attend language school and learn Arabic.

Now those buddies are missing him.

Garcia, 22, of Rialto, died Sunday in Baghdad of wounds suffered from enemy small-arms fire.

As part of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Garcia was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in Fort Lewis, Wash.

Gordon Hibbard of Manhattan, Kan., the father of Jonathan Hibbard, met Garcia at Fort Lewis, where his son and Garcia were stationed.

His initial impression of his son's friend and roommate was that he was a quiet but very intelligent kid who took care of what needed to be taken care of.

He came out of his shell as the Hibbards got to know him. They liked what a good comrade he was to their son and the skill he showed in learning a difficult language such as Arabic.

The Hibbards are still coming to terms with the loss.

Jonathan Hibbard, who is still stationed in Iraq, initially wept when he learned of Garcia's death, but he is carrying on with what he was sent to Iraq to do, his father said.

"He's a soldier with a job to do. That's what distinguishes them from the rest of us," Gordon Hibbard said.

Garcia's family could not be reached for comment.

Tribute was also paid to the young Rialto soldier by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In a statement released Friday, Schwarzenegger said, "Today, we pay tribute and honor Specialist Victor Garcia for his dedication to freedom and democracy and his service to our nation.

"Words cannot adequately express our reverence for Victor's sacrifice.

"Maria and I send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to his family and friends in this time of grief."

Capitol flags were also flown at half-staff to honor Garcia.

From the Daily Bulletin

Related Link:
Victor A. Garcia dies 'of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire'