Minutes after Daniel Mendez departed to serve his country in parts unknown, thieves were rifling through his home in Leverett’s Chapel, Texas.

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Courtesy photo via Texas Army National Guard

In a moment of downtime during his 2004–2005 deployment, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Ros asked his friend why he was in Iraq. “Before I could answer, Joe said he was here because it was historical and it was something he wanted to be able to share with his children when they asked about this war,” retired Sgt. Guadalupe Martinez, Jr. told the Texas Army National Guard’s 176th Engineer Brigade in a news release following Ros’ tragic death last month.

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