Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R. Barreras, instrumental in the rescue of Jessica Lynch, has died of wounds sustained in the service of his country in Afghanistan.
Command Sgt. Barreras, 49, was part of a team responsible for the high-profile 2003 rescue of Jessica Lynch from a hospital Iraq at the height of the war.
A veteran of multiple tours in several regions and nicknamed “Gunny,” Barreras “became the top enlisted soldier for 2nd Battalion in March 2013,” Army Times reports. The site explains that the decorated vet sadly passed away this week in a hospital after he sustained grave wounds in Afghanistan:
“Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Barreras, 49, of Tucson, Arizona, died Tuesday at San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas. He died from wounds suffered on May 6 in Herat province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire, according to information released by DoD.”
In a statement, battalion commander Lt. Col. Edward Brady said of his fallen friend:
“Command Sgt. Maj. Barreras was my friend and battle buddy… I’ve spent more time with him than my wife since I’ve taken command. I believe that I was the luckiest battalion commander in the Army to have him as my command sergeant major.”
Lt. Col Brady continued, adding that his “Bobcats” were moving forward in a way of which the Army Ranger would have approved, despite their heavy grief:
“While every soldier in this formation is extremely saddened by his loss, his Bobcats are doing exactly what he would expect of us: continuing on with the mission and taking the fight to the enemy. This man would do absolutely anything and everything to ensure his soldiers came home safely.”
While Command Sgt. Maj. Barreras was just 49, his list of achievements in his military service is lengthy and impressive.
Stripes.com lists his awards and recognitions:
“Barreras’ awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with valor device, Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters and Joint Service Achievement Medal.”
Although the list is long, the 2003 incident involving Lynch was likely his most prominent career moment:
During the Jessica Lynch rescue, Command Sgt. Maj. Barreras personally transported the young soldier to waiting rescue teams. He is survived by a wife, two daughters, a son, and his grandchildren.