Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Pedro A Munoz

Aquada, Puerto Rico

January 2, 2005

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
47 Army Sgt 1st Class

1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Died Jan. 2 in Shindand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained Jan. 1 when his patrol encountered enemy fire.

Memorial service honors fallen Special Forces Soldier

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Jan. 11, 2005) — More than three hundred family members, friends, and brothers-in-arms congregated Friday at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Chapel here to mourn the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Pedro Munoz.

Munoz, 47, died Jan. 2 from wounds suffered during offensive combat operations in Afghanistan’s Herat province. He was an intelligence sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Sun shined through the stained glass windows in the military chapel during the afternoon ceremony. Mourners filled the chapel’s pews, paying their respects.

After a stirring a cappella rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by Lisa Burton, Lt. Col. James E. Kraft, 1st Battalion commander, spoke.

He said Munoz was a dedicated Soldier, husband and father. 

Soldiers and civilians openly wept when the three brothers-in-arms described Munoz’s energy and enthusiasm during the "Remarks by a Friend" section of the ceremony.

“Pedro had a tremendous enthusiasm for life,” said Master Sgt. Johnny Mulford, a parachute team leader assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Black Daggers Parachute Team. “Wherever he went, whether it was hiking as a civilian or parachute jumping into Yankee Stadium, or providing humanitarian relief to children in Haiti he was making friends.”

Munoz served in Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy, and was a member of the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.

Mulford remembered hiking, while on leave, with his close friend on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We had been on the Appalachian Trail, away from civilization for a few days, when we heard about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” said Mulford. “When Pedro found out what had happened, he told me he wanted to be transferred immediately from the Golden Knights back to 7th SFG in order to fight terrorism.”

Sgt. 1st Class Chad Campbell, assigned to 1st Battalion, remembered how Munoz was nicknamed “Papi.”

“Papi had a mission-first attitude,” said Campbell. “He made the best out of bad situations and was, for me, a ‘coach on life.’”

Retired Command Sgt. Major George Miller remembered that Munoz, in a unique way, always landed from a parachute jump with “one leg up above the other because he didn’t want to slam into the ground.”

Miller also said Munoz was one of the most physically fit Soldiers he had ever known.

“He enjoyed running five or six miles every day,” said Miller.

Following the "Remarks by a Friend," Kraft posthumously awarded Munoz the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster and the Combat Infantryman Badge 2nd Award. 

Munoz’s wife and daughter received the awards.

After the presentation of awards, bagpiper John Ewell played a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Then per military custom, The Last Roll Call was announced, followed by Firing of Volleys, Sounding of Taps, Benediction, and Postlude.

As the memorial service ended, Soldiers and civilians mingled outside the chapel comforting one another and sharing stories of the life of Pedro Munoz.

Munoz, born in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1986, at the age of 29. He graduated from the Special Forces Communications Course and was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 1989. 

In 1990, Munoz deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He is survived by his wife and daughter, Gisela and Dalia, respectively.

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