Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Edgar E. Cardenas dies 'of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device'

Before a homemade bomb claimed the life of Pfc. Edgar Cardenas in Iraq last week, the Lilburn man had been trying to clear the way for his Mexican wife and their son to emigrate to the United States.

Now his widow, Elsa, is taking his body to her hometown of Linares, where the two met and married 10 years ago, Cardenas' mother said.

"I'm soon to retire. I may be going home too," said his mother, Guadalupe Garcia, who lives in Lilburn.

His grandparents were born in Linares, a town in northern Mexico.

Cardenas died Wednesday "of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device," according to a statement released by the U.S. Army at Fort Hood, Texas.

Garcia said her son had been scheduled to end his Iraq tour in October, but it was extended to February.

"I am very proud of him," said Garcia, who last saw her son in June. "At least I had the pleasure of seeing him one more time."

Garcia said her son was "very intelligent," and was passionate about martial arts and soccer, which he played in high school in his native Chicago. She said he loved to be serving his country in Iraq.

"I don't know why he was happy over there. But he was happy," Garcia said.

Garcia said she wasn't always happy with her son's decision to enlist.

"At first I was very upset," said Garcia. "But his mind was already made up. 'I have to serve the United States,' he said."

From 1999 to 2005, Cardenas worked in the circulation department of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cardenas began his military career in June 2005 as a Cavalry Scout.

In November that year, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.

While stationed there, Garcia said, Cardenas traveled "almost every week" to visit his wife and 7-year-old son, Bryan.

Bryan Cardenas, Garcia said, was born on Sept. 11, 1999, exactly two years before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Atlanta Journal Constitution