By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
The 4th Infantry Division's deadly toll from April continued to rise Tuesday as the Pentagon released the name of a senior noncommissioned officer who died last week from injuries sustained in a roadside bomb blast in Iraq.
First Sgt. Bobby Mendez died Thursday when the roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee in Baghdad.
Mendez was an intelligence analyst with the 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He deployed to Iraq in November with the division, a III Corps news release stated Tuesday.
His death raised to 16 the number of 4th Infantry soldiers from Fort Hood who lost their lives during April in Iraq.
The 38-year-old native from Brooklyn, N.Y., joined the Army in October 1987 and was assigned to the 4th Infantry in January 2002.
His medals showed past experience in the region, including the Kuwait Liberation Medal for soldiers who were part of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and also the Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star.
Mendez's other awards listed in the III Corps release included the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge.
Fort Hood on Tuesday also released more information on two cavalry scouts from the 4th Brigade's 8th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment who died Sunday in a roadside bomb blast while on patrol in Baghdad.
Their names were released Monday by the Pengaton.
Staff Sgt. Bryant Herlem, a 37-year-old from Copperas Cove joined the military in August 1992 and was assigned to the 4th Infantry in September 2004. His medals included the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Assault Badge and Drive and Mechanic Badge.
Sgt. Jose Gomez, a 23-year-old from Corona, N.Y., joined the military in April 2001 and was assigned to Fort Hood in December 2004. He had been previously wounded in action and received a Purple Heart. His medals also included the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal , Global War on Terrorism, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Bad and Expert Weapons Qualification Badge.
"My heart goes out to the families," said Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, the 4th Infantry's commander, in a telephone call Saturday from Iraq, in which he said he takes each of the division's deaths personally.
Roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices, followed by small-arms fire have been the attack of choice by the insurgents, Thurman said.
Thurman said the division is "aggressively" hunting the people responsible for the attacks with considerable success.
"This month alone, over 600 IEDs were planted. We found about 50 percent of them," he said. "When we target somebody, nine times out of 10 we're going to get them."
The military has confirmed the deaths of 192 Fort Hood soldiers since the Central Texas post began sending troops to the region in January 2003. Another eight 4th Infantry soldiers were killed in the line of duty in Texas while preparing to return to Iraq.
Contact Debbie Stevenson at email@example.com