UPDATE: On Friday, hundreds of soldiers, veterans family and friends gathered at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen to pay their respects to Staff Sergeant Miguel Angel ColonVazquez.
"He's like a brother. Basically for 13 years we grew up in the Army," said SSG Perrin Gori who traveled from Fort Riley, Kansas to attend the funeral. "He always took care of his soldiers first. He made sure soldiers were taken care of before he was taken care of."
During a tearful service, Gori told the large crowd how ColonVazquez helped a group of soldiers under enemy fire in Afghanistan. "Myself and 26 other soldiers at Fort Campbell who owe our lives directly to Miguel. That was the type of man he was," he said.
After a 21 gun salute and the playing of Taps, soldiers from ColonVazquez's unit carefully folded the flag that draped his casket. It was then handed to ColonVazquez's wife, a small token for a sacrifice that can never be repaid.
FORT HOOD – Family, friends and fellow soldiers gathered at the St. Joseph Catholic Church on Thursday to honor Staff Sergeant Miguel Angel ColonVazquez. He is one of nine soldiers who died in the Fort Hood training accident on June 2nd.
Patriot Guard riders lined the sidewalk and church to pay tribute to ColonVazquez and his family. Soldiers from his unit, 3-16 Field Artillery, carefully carried his flag draped casket into the church for the funeral service.
ColonVazquez, 38, was the oldest soldier who died in the training accident when their tactical vehicle was swept away by flood water on a Fort Hood training range. He leaves behind a wife and four children.
A graveside service will be held on Friday at 2p.m. at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.
ColonVazquez’s Army Bio:
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, 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.