Alcaraz, Raymond, SGT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Medical Corps
Last Primary MOS
91B10-Medical Specialist
Last MOS Group
Medical Department (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
2009-2010, 91B10, C Company, Special Troops Battalion,173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Service Years
2007 - 2010
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Operation Enduring Freedom


Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 5 Bruce W. Thompson to remember Alcaraz, Raymond, SGT.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Aug 31, 2010
Hostile, Died of Wounds
IED-Improvised Explosive Device
Not Specified
Location of Interment
Hillside Memorial Park - Redlands, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
GWOT Fallen
  2013, GWOT Fallen [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Medical 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Special Troops Battalion,173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
  2009-2010, 91B10, C Company, Special Troops Battalion,173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  2001-2014 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) /OEF - Afghanistan
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Born: November 4, 1989 in San Bernardino County, California
Died: August 31, 2010 in Logar, Afghanistan
Sgt. Raymond C. Alcaraz of Redlands, California joined the United States Army in the summer of 2007. After completing Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, and Airborne School, he was assigned to Charlie Company 173rd BSB. He joined the unit during Operation Enduring Freedom VIII and was attached to Able Company 1-503rd P.I.R. serving as a Platoon Medic. SGT Alcaraz again deployed to Afghanistan with Charlie Company 173rd BSB in November 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X. While deployed to Logar Province, Afghanistan, he was attached to 1st Platoon (Assassins) of Alpha Company 173rd Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne) as a Platoon Medic where he completed over 49 missions as a Health Care Sergeant in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X. His Awards and Decorations include, the Army Achievement Medal, (with Oak Leaf Cluster) the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Army Good Conduct Medal, (first award) the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, (three) the NATO Medal, a Certificate of Achievement, the Combat Medic Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. He leaves his brother, Lucas, his mother and stepfather, Alma and Paul Murphy, and his father, Raymond Sr. He died at age 20 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
173rd Brigade Support Battalion
173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Bamberg, Germany
Hillside Memorial Park in Redlands, California
Redlands loses native son

By JOY JUEDES, Staff Writer

Posted: 09/09/10, 9:00 PM PDT |

Sgt. Raymond Alcaraz was always smiling.

In person and in photos, his face showed love for his job as an Army medic and being with people.

"People remembered him because of his smile and the way he joked around," said stepfather Paul Murphy of Redlands.

Alcaraz, a 20-year-old Redlands native, was killed along with three other soldiers on Aug. 31. He died of wounds suffered when their vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense announced Sept. 3. They were on a combat patrol mission in Pul-e-Alam in Logar province, southeastern Afghanistan. He was 43 days from the end of his tour.

Soldiers in his unit of the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team put Crest whitening strips near his memorial in Bamberg, Germany, where he was stationed, Murphy said.

"He loved to make people laugh," said his mother, Alma Murphy of Redlands. "He would just be sitting there and he would just do something (funny)."

"He would break the mood," said his older brother, Army Sgt. 1st Class Lucas Gonzales.

The brothers are 13 years apart, but were as close as if they were born nine months apart, their mother said.

"It didn't feel like it, it was like he was my twin brother," said Gonzales, who leaves today for Dover, Del., where he will escort his brother's body home to Redlands. On Saturday, local law enforcement officers, firefighters and motorcycle groups will escort Alcaraz on the 10 Freeway from Ontario International Airport to Redlands.

Alcaraz called Gonzales before every mission, and was always upbeat, his family said.

"I understood, I could physically see what he did because I know what he was doing," said Gonzales, who has also served in Afghanistan, overlapping his brother for four months in 2008. One of Gonzales' closest friends, Israel Garcia, was killed in July 2008 in the Battle of Wanat, a conflict that killed nine soldiers and wounded 27. Alcaraz called him after the battle to make sure he was all right, he said.

"I'd seen the worst of it and when I talked to him I never sensed that from him," said Gonzales, who is based at Fort Irwin. "He'd say, `Hey, I'm going out, this is what I'm doing, just pray for me.' I'd sit there and pray for him."

Alcaraz never wanted to worry his mother, who kept her phone close at all times. He usually called in the wee hours of the morning, weekly or monthly, his mother and stepfather said.

"(He said), `Sorry, mom, I got you up' - he was always thinking and worrying about me," Alma Murphy said.

He always wanted to join the Army, his family said, partly to follow Gonzales. He did, a month after graduating from Redlands High School in 2007. He was 17.

"It was what he wanted to do, that and be a firefighter," his mother said.

He was born Nov. 4, 1989, at Redlands Community Hospital. He played on Redlands Baseball for Youth teams, where his stepfather helped coach. He attended Kingsbury Elementary, Moore Middle School and Redlands East Valley High School. He chose to transfer to Redlands High School so he could graduate there, his family said.

"He couldn't wait to get out of high school," Paul Murphy said. "Once he joined the Army he loved every minute he didn't want to come home on leave sometimes because he was enjoying himself so much."

Alcaraz planned to serve four years, then attend a local fire academy. After basic training, he went through airborne school, then medic training.

"He had a drive, he was very competitive - whatever he did he wanted to exceed expectations," his mother said.

He was stationed in Fort Benning, Ga., then Bamberg, before being deployed as a platoon medic to Afghanistan in 2008 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom VIII. He lived in Germany about a year, then was deployed again to Afghanistan in November 2009 for Operation Enduring Freedom X.

While in Logar Province, he completed about 50 missions as a health care sergeant, according to the military.

"He loved saving kids, he was always working on kids over there," his stepfather said.

He helped local people, Afghan soldiers and U.S. soldiers, Gonzales said.

"He loved it because it was such a challenge," he said. "That's why they used him so much over there, because he's so dependable.

He was near improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, twice in the past six weeks before he was killed, Paul Murphy said.

He was young, but people who served with him were impressed by his maturity, his mother said.

"He was just starting to turn into a man in the past year, you could see it in him," Paul Murphy said.

He asked his family to find him a house in the area, he said.

"We were going to help him buy one and he said he was doing it on his own," he said.

"He wanted to be independent," his mother said.

His bubbly spirit impacted a lot of people, she said. A man recently said he would send 173rd Airborne ties for Alcaraz's pallbearers without charge, Paul Murphy said.

"He had met Raymond in Germany a year and a half ago, he remembered him because of his smile and the way he joked with the guys," he said.

Erik Johnson, an Army occupational therapist who became close friends with Alcaraz in Afghanistan, created a tribute page for Alcaraz on his website.

"We all used to laugh at Ray because how hard he worked on his physical appearance," he wrote. "He definitely had an incredible smile. His white teeth would blind us all the time."

Their battalion held a memorial for Alcaraz Sept. 3.

"There's a `final roll call' that they do where they call out names and then eventually the hero," he wrote. "When they did this for Ray, I lost it. (A) 21 gun salute followed and I wept. We all did."

The Redlands City Council had a moment of silence for Alcaraz at their meeting on Tuesday.

The Redlands High School football team invited Alcaraz's family onto the field Friday night before their game against Great Oak. Local veterans raised a flag, then lowered it to half-staff. Alcaraz's accolades were announced and there was a moment of silence, according to Esther Armendariz, whose son, Paul Gonzales, plays for the Terriers. Paul Gonzales is Lucas Gonzales' half-brother and stood on the field with the family.

He helped organize the tribute, Armendariz said.

Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Emmerson-Bartlett Memorial Chapel, 703 Brookside Ave., Redlands. Services are at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Rock church, 2345 S. Waterman Ave., San Bernardino. Burial will be at Hillside Memorial Park in Redlands.

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