In Memoriam

CZBrats and our Panamanian community mourn the loss of


Photo: La Prensa

Photo: Reuters/
Alberto Lowe

Panamanian family buries soldier killed in Iraq
KATHIA MARTINEZ Associated Press

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 November.

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 Friday's service.

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 said.

Friends remembered Isaias as a young, energetic man with a great sense of humor.

From: Star-Telegram

Chief Joel Egan Baldwin (37 yrs. old) - BHS '87
Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 77, Gulfport, MS

Staff Sgt.Julián Melo Sánchez (47 yrs. old)
1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade
25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team)
Fort Lewis, Wash.

They were both in the dining hall at Mosul, Iraq, December 21, 2004 when it was attacked

A special Baldwin Memorial Fund has  been set up for the family at Keesler Federal Credit Union. Joel left a wife and 9 yr. old daughter.  Any branch can accept donations or contributions in person or by mail only. Point of Contact is Michelle Manley@ 385-4548 or 1-888-533-7537, Ext.4548. Address: KFCU, ATTENTION: Baldwin Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 7001, Biloxi, MS 39534

If we find out about a fund for
Julián Melo Sánchez we will also post that information.  Julián is survived by his wife Norma and son Joshua.

January 8, 2006