December 19, 1978 (Brooklyn, NY) – July 26, 2003; 24 years old; unmarried
Enlisted on April 10, 2002; MOS 11C, Indirect Fire Infantryman
4TH INFANTRY DIVISION, 67TH ARMOR REGIMENT, 1ST BATTALION, HEADQUARTERS AND HEADQUARTERS COMPANY
Awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart Medal
Wilfredo and two other soldiers died July 26, 2003 during a grenade attack as they were guarding a children’s hospital in Baqubah, Iraq.
From the Boston Globe August 3, 2003
Private First Class Wilfredo Perez Jr. of Norwalk, Connecticut, an Army infantryman stationed in Iraq, was among three soldiers killed July 26 in a grenade attack on a hospital they were guarding 45 miles northeast of Baghdad. He was 24. His career in the military began in the Junior ROTC program at Norwalk High School. After years of moving between Norwalk and Queens, Mr. Perez dropped out of high school. Three years later he returned to earn his GED, said his sister, Lisa Marie, of Queens, New York. He returned to the Norwalk schools last year to talk to students about overcoming mistakes. “He lived in two different worlds at certain times,” she said. Mr. Perez grew up in Queens, where his mother still lives. After his parents divorced, he moved to Connecticut to live with his father. Mr. Perez was considered a prankster by most of his family and friends. He once littered his mother’s bath with chicken seasonings which made her smell like chicken for three days. After joining the Army about 18 months ago, Mr. Perez worked with his father as a remodeling contractor before beginning his training at Fort Benning, Georgia, his uncle, Tom Noonan of Stratford, Connecticut told the Associated Press. He spent time with his mother and father last august after he finished his training. Mr. Perez was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas. At first, he was eager to go to Iraq and saw the experience as exciting, but he recently told his family he wanted out of Iraq, his sister said. “They were not prepared for what the heat did to them mentally; he wrote about not having water and needing to laugh,” she added. Keeping in touch with his family through e-mail and occasional phone calls, news from Mr. Perez – called “Junior” by his family – was shared at family gatherings. Recently, his sisters, brother, and a cousin all received letters with instructions from him on what they should do if he were to die overseas. In addition to his sister, Mr. Perez leaves his father, Wilfredo Sr.; his mother, Ann Marie; another sister, Telia Marie of Queens; and two brothers, Joseph of Queens and Roman of Norwalk. A funeral Mass will be said in St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church in Queens at 11:30 a.m. Friday. Burial will be in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Bronze Medal Citation
The Bronze Star Medal
TO Specialist Wilfredo Perez Jr.
United States Army
FOR meritorious service from 19 March 2003 to 26 July 2003, while assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored, 4th Infantry Division. Specialist Perez gave the ultimate sacrifice while participating in combat operations to liberate Iraq. His duty performance and commitment are in keeping with the highest the highest traditions of selfless service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 4th Infantry Division, Victory Corps, and the United States Army.
Given under my hand in the City of Washington this
28th day of July 2003
Gina S. Farrisee, The Adjutant General and R.L. Brownlee, Secretary of the Army
Specialist Perez is buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery, Section 16, Lot 117, Grave 24. Photo by webmaster.