Monday, August 06, 2007

Jaime Rodriguez laid to rest

Friends and family gathered Friday in Carpinteria to mourn the loss of U.S. Army Spc. Jaime "Jimmy" Rodriguez, who died last week in Iraq.

More than 250 people attended the funeral mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Carpinteria, where the 19-year-old Rodriguez lived until he was 16.

Many wore t-shirts emblazoned with his photo while others wore ribbons during an hour-plus long sermon featuring folk music and eulogies that were mostly in Spanish.

Rodriguez was killed July 26, in Saqlawiyah, Iraq, with two other soldiers when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. He was the 16th member of the military from Ventura County and fourth from Oxnard to die in the Iraq war.

All three men were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Rodriguez was raised in Santa Barbara and moved to Carpinteria at age 12 with his mother after his parents divorced. At 16, Rodriguez moved with his mother to Oxnard but commuted to Carpinteria to finish high school in 2005.

In November 2005, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, listing Oxnard as his home address.

The middle sibling of three, Rodriguez loved to play video games, did well in school and ran cross country and track events at high school, said Rodriguez's cousin Carlos Gonzalez, 24.

"He always had a smile on his face," Gonzalez said after the service.

Rodriguez was awarded four awards posthumously, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, said U.S. Army Brig. General James Chambers.

Rodriguez was buried at Santa Barbara Cemetery with a 21-gun salute.

From the Ventura County Star

Related Link:
Jaime Rodriguez dies 'of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'