Panamanian family buries soldier killed in
PANAMA CITY, Panama
- His voice cracking with grief, Jose Santos bid
farewell Friday [January 6, 2006] to his son, saying he was
proud of the Panamanian-born U.S. soldier who was killed last
month in Iraq.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Isaias E. Santos, 28, died
Dec. 26, 2005 in a helicopter accident in Baghdad. Santos was
assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Aviation
Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
"I know my son did not live in vain," said Jose Santos,
holding back tears during the U.S. military funeral at the
Corozal cemetery in front of the Panama Canal.
Jose Santos, who served for the United States during the
Vietnam War, wore a U.S. military uniform at the ceremony.
"When we gave our son to the Army, we did it with love," he
said. "He asked for the support of his father and mother, and we
gave it to him with love."
Isaias Santos joined the U.S. army in 1995 after graduating
from high school in Panama City. He was sent to Iraq in
He received numerous medals during his military career, among
them a medal for Service in the Global War Against Terror. After
his death, he was honored with the Bronze Star.
"The people of the United States are eternally grateful to
Isaias for having offered his life to defend the world against
terrorism," U.S. ambassador to Panama William A. Eaton said at
Brigadier Gen. Purl Keen, who also attended the funeral, said
Santos was a leader among his fellow soldiers and was considered
one of the best young helicopter pilots in his brigade.
"He was an exceptional warrior, picked by his commander to
fly with the best and in the most important missions," Keen
Friends remembered Isaias as a young, energetic man with a
great sense of humor.