McALLEN – Several veterans based out of Fort Hood, Texas, came to the Rio Grande Valley to pay their respects to one of their fallen comrades this weekend.
The Army soldiers served with McAllen resident and Edcouch native Estevan Altamirano. Staff Sgt. Altamirano died in September from injuries sustained while servicing a weapon in Tikrit, Iraq. The Army determined that his death was an accident, said Altamirano’s wife, Pamela.
The soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division arrived back in the United States in November and wanted to come honor Altamirano.
“We have to remember who he was…We do care. We are a family,” Sgt. 1st Class Robert Bee said, calling the unit “a band of brothers.”
Bee, about 20 other men who served with Altamirano and their families visited Altamirano’s grave Friday at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission.
The veterans will be a part of a ceremony at 10 a.m. today at the Veterans War Memorial of Texas, according to a news release from the city of McAllen. The memorial is located on 29th Street and Galveston near the McAllen Convention Center. At 7 p.m., they will participate in a flag-raising ceremony outside of the home of Pamela Altamirano at 116 W. Hawk Ave. in McAllen. Both are open to the public.
"It helps a lot when they're around,” Pamela Altamirano said of having her husband’s comrades come down.
Pamela Altamirano said she and her family are grateful for the visit, which gives them some closure.
Gail Burkhardt covers Mission, western Hidalgo County, Starr County and general assignments for The Monitor. She can be reached at email@example.com and (956) 683-4462.