Army Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, 38, whose home of record is listed as Brooklyn, New York, entered active-duty military service in July 2003 as a motor transport operator and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas since May 2011. Colonvazquez deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to September 2006 and in support of Operation New Dawn from May 2011 to November 2011. He also deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2008 to May 2009 and from July 2013 to March 2014.
Colonvazquez’s awards and decorations include five Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two Korea Defense Service Medals, Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, Driver and Mechanic Badge with wheeled vehicle and Marksmanship Qualification Badge-Marksman with Carbine.
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Mr. Speaker, Texas has been hammered by historic torrential rain and flooding. As the Texas floodwaters rose, 12 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, were crossing Owl Creek in a 21⁄2-ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle when it became stuck in the Owl Creek low water crossing.
Suddenly, the vehicle was swept over and sent downstream by fast-moving water. Nine American soldiers drowned in the massive flood waters. Today, we remember them, and here they are: Staff Sergeant Miguel Colon Vazquez, 38, from New York.
He had just spent four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan; Specialist Christine Armstrong, 27, of California; PFC Brandon Banner, 22, of Florida; PFC Zachery Fuller, 23, of Florida; Private Isaac Deleon, 19, of Texas. He was the youngest of all of them.
He had only been in the Army for 17 months; Private Eddy Rae’Laurin Gates, 20, of North Carolina—a former homecoming queen; Private Tysheena James, 21, of New Jersey; West Point cadet Mitchell Winey, 21, of Indiana; Specialist Yingming Sun, 25, of California. These are the nine who drowned recently in the Texas floods.
The soldiers were members of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division. These American soldiers were volunteers who swore to protect the United States.
They were a cut above the rest and were ready to defend freedom at home and abroad. Their lives were ripped from this world and their families all too soon. We are grateful for them and their families for their service and their sacrifices.
These soldiers are the best of America. Our thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers and their families, who have been devastated by the floods of Texas this spring.
SSGT Miguel Angel Colonvazquez (1997-2016)
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