Portraits of post 9/11 Fallen Heroes who were killed in action or from wounds suffered on the battlefield
The Gallery features the portraits of the 27 post 9/11 warriors from Kern County that were killed in action or died as a result of wounds suffered on the battlefield.
Each one tells the story of a young man – a soldier, a Marine, his life, his hobbies, his heart. Inlaid within the portrait are “mini portraits” that may portray someone playing soccer, holding his dog or, playing with his child. Each portrait is accompanied by a biography and the observer will instantly know something of the man behind the uniform.
It is an emotional journey to look into the eyes of a young man with so much hope, with a whole life ahead of him knowing they are not coming back. That THIS is the face of freedom. That THIS young man signed a blank check, In The Amount Of: Up To & Including His Life. And he did this for us. It is imperative that we recognize that the ultimate price was paid.
Domenico Baroncini Jr.
Army | Jan 19, 1973 – Oct 15, 2006
Domenico Baroncini Jr. was born on January 19, 1973 in Bakersfield, California. He graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1991 and attended Bakersfield College.
Domenico enlisted in the Army on October 22, 2003 and was eventually assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division.
He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Baroncini is buried at the Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery in Bakersfield, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Jim Burke Ford
Army | May 31, 1981 – Apr 18, 2006
Ricardo Barraza was born in Toppenish, Washington on May 31, 1981. He graduated from Shafter High School in 1999 where he was a talented athlete who played basketball, football and ran track. Ricky loved the small community of Shafter and cherished the times he was able to come home and visit.
Ricky enlisted in the United States Army on August 5, 1999. Ricky had great respect for the military and was proud to be a United States Army Ranger. Staff Sergeant Ricardo Barraza was a squad leader assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
He died of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire while conducting combat operations in Iraq on March 18, 2006.
Ricky is survived by Francisco Javier and Nina Barraza.
Proudly Sponsored by Philip & John Sacco
Clay Patrick Farr
Army | Feb 19, 1985 – Feb 26, 2006
Clay Patrick Farr was born in Bakersfield, California on February 19, 1985. He attended Centennial High School and graduated in 2003. During high school, Clay participated in the Kern County Sherriff Explorer Program and became a Senior Explorer.
Immediately after graduating, Clay enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Cavalry Scout and began his basic training January 2004 at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Once finished with basic training and cavalry scout school, Clay was at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Ft. Polk, at the time, was not taking volunteers to go to Iraq, so Clay requested to be transferred to somewhere that was taking volunteers. After being transferred to the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, New York, he volunteered for combat duty in Iraq. At the time, the 10th Mountain Division had been forming new units, so Clay was not sent to Iraq until August of 2005.
He was killed in Balad, Iraq on February 26, 2006 due to a roadside bomb. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. Clay received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Proudly Sponsored by Wounded Heroes Fund
Army | Jun 13, 1975 – Jan 20, 2007
Brian was born on June 13, 1975 in Bakersfield, California. He graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 1983 and also graduated from West Point in 1999.
Soon after graduating West Point, Brian joined the active-duty Army for a five-year stint. He was assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Whitehall, Ohio.
Brian was killed on January 20, 2007 in Karbala, Iraq during an insurgent ambush.
Freeman is buried at Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Proudly Sponsored by Paul DeWitt
Alberto Garcia Jr.
Army | Mar 9, 1984 – Mar 13, 2007
Alberto Garcia Jr. was born on March 9, 1984 in Bakersfield, California. Garcia graduated from South High School in 2002.
Garcia was a Specialist while in the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany.
He was killed on March 13, 2007 when his unit was attacked with small-arms fire and an improvised explosive in Baghdad, Iraq.
He earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Garcia is buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Bakersfield, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Leigh Ann Anderson
Army | Nov 3, 1970 – May 21, 2009
Jason E. George, known as JG or George, was born on November 3, 1970 in Bakersfield, California. George graduated from Tehachapi High School in 1988. During his time at high school, he participated in Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, California Scholastic Federation, National Honor Society and the SHARP program.
While he was at Edwards Air Force Base, he competed in football, baseball and tennis. He was the Antelope Valley Press Scholar/Athlete for 1987 – 1988. He was commissioned upon successful graduation at West Point in 1994.
George was killed on May 21, 2009 when an improvised explosive device detonated while on dismounted patrol near Baghdad, Iraq. George is buried in Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Cathy Butler
Adan Gonzales Jr.
Marine Corps | – Aug 7, 2011
Adan Gonzales Jr. was an active member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. He went to church regularly and assisted as an alter boy when he was young. He attended Ridgeview High School where he competed on the wrestling team before he graduated. Gonzales worked as a cabinetmaker and worked as a landscaper at his father’s business, as well as youth director at his church.
In May of 2006, Gonzales enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was known as “Gonzo”. During his five years as a Marine, he progressed successively through the enlisted ranks. He served one tour of duty in Iraq and was sent to Afghanistan in March 2011 with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force of Camp Pendleton. Gonzales was attached to an elite sniper platoon, and was planning to attend sniper school in early 2012.
Sergeant Adan Gonzales Jr. was killed during a firefight in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan on August 7, 2011. He left behind a wife, Catalina Gonzales, and his three children, Athena Cossette, Catherine Alexandra and Noah Diego.
Proudly Sponsored by Bill & Denise Potter
Potter McKinney, Inc.
Army | Dec 11, 1968 – Jul 18, 2007
Luis Gutierrez-Rosales was born on December 11, 1968 in Tepic, Mexico. He immigrated to Bakersfield, California at the age of 16 with his mother and graduated from Bakersfield High School.
Luis enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 21. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany. He deployed out of Germany in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gutierrez served as a Sergeant First Class as an Army Ranger and served as a platoon leader during his second tour of Iraq.
Gutierrez was killed-in-action on July 18, 2007 in Adhamiyah, Iraq by Iraqi insurgents using improvised explosive devices. Luis was 38 years old.
Proudly Sponsored by Sgt. Jose Esparza
126th Infantry Regiment Blue Spaders
Fernando B. Hannon was born on September 28, 1984 in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from John Marshall High School in 2002.
Fernando enlisted in the Marines while living in Riverside County’s Wildomar section before his family moved to Mojave. He joined the military because he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Spurgeon Hannon, a Vietnam veteran.
Fernando was killed on August 15, 2004 in Al Anbar, Iraq in an explosion in the volatile Anbar Province. He is buried at the East Kern Cemetery in Mojave, California.
He received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Proudly Sponsored by Congressman Kevin & Judy McCarthy
Kenneth K. Hermogino was born July 21, 1980. Sergeant Hermogino served both in the Air Force and in the Army. In the Army, Ken was assigned to the 7th Squadron of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and 4th Infantry Division.
Ken joined the military two months after the attacks of September 11th. He married Monica and together they had one child.
Sgt. Ken Hermogino died while escorting Afghan engineers back to their base while in an all-terrain vehicle. The vehicle rolled over in the mountainous Herat Province of Northwestern Afghanistan. Sgt. Hermogino died May 9, 2011.
His friends and family will always love and appreciate him for serving his country.
Proudly Sponsored by Jeff & Melissa Salters
Salty’s BBQ & Catering
Native son of Ridgecrest, California. Troy Jenkins joined the Marines at 17. Upon completion of his enlistment, he joined the Army four years later. He trained to be a paratrooper, studied Arabic, and served in Afghanistan where a bullet grazed him in 2002.
After switching to the Army, he was assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 187 Infantry Regiment in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
On April 149, 2003, Sgt. Jenkins was on dismounted patrol with other soldiers where he was mortally wounded throwing himself on a cluster bomb that a 7-year-old Iraqi girl was playing with. He died five days later in Germany.
Troy is survived by his wife Amanda, and their two children, Tristan and Brandon.
Proudly Sponsored by Honor Flight Kern County
Rhys William Klasno was born in Orange County, California on July 16, 1986. He graduated from Woodcrest Christian High School in Riverside in 2004.
He enlisted in the California National Guard on March 12, 2004 as a member of Troop F, 1st Squadron, 18th Cavalry in Los Alamitos, California. He trained to be a Motor Transport Driver, an MOS 88M 10, and ordered to duty on April 27, 2006. He served as a sergeant in the California Army National Guard.
Klasno died May 13, 2007 in Haditha, Iraq of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. During his time in the Army, he received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Rhys leaves behind his wife, Stephanie Ann Klasno; their daughter, Lodon; and his mother and father, Lynn and Michael Klasno.
Proudly Sponsored by Jason & Jamie Geis
Brett W. Land attended Bakersfield High School and was a part of the wrestling program. While a wrestler, he was a three-time Central Section Grand Masters champion and placed twice in state championships. He wrestled at West Hills College for a short time before he joined the Army in November 2008.
His first tour of duty was with Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. Land was assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Brett died in Afghanistan on October 30, 2010 while insurgents attacked his unit. Land had planned to make the Army his main career.
Land was a husband and new father. He was due home November 15, 2010 which would have been his first chance to see his newborn daughter, Rileigh.
Proudly Sponsored by Chicago Title
Joseph C. Lopez was born on May 1, 1984 and later graduated from Rosamond High School. After a few years of trying to find his calling, in March of 2009, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.
Lopez was later deployed to Afghanistan in September of 2010. Lopez was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California.
He died at the age of 26 on October 14, 2010 in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He died after an improvised explosive device detonated during a dismounted combat operation. Among others, he received the Purple Heart and a Combat Action Ribbon.
Lopez is buried at Lancaster’s Joshua Memorial Park.
Proudly Sponsored by David & Becky Cummings
Herman Mackey III
Herman Mackey III, or ‘Tre’ as he was known by family and friends, was born on December 15, 1982 in Anaheim, California. Tre graduated from Bakersfield High School in 2001.
Mackey immediately entered the Air Force after graduation. On December 30, 2009 he married his beloved wife Megan Mackey in Las Vegas, Nevada. They later had a daughter named Peyton Jade Mackey.
Herman died on May 3, 2013 in Kyrgyzstan aboard a KC-135 aircraft while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington.
Proudly Sponsored by Jason Mundorf
Christopher Lee Moore was born June 14, 1978 in Bakersfield, California. Moore graduated from Alpaugh High School in 1996.
He began basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Moore was first assigned to the 101st Airborne in Kuwait where he transferred to the 82nd Airborne. After retiring for a short time from the service, he re-enlisted and began his tour of Iraq in April 2004. He served in the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team and 1st Cavalry Division directly out of Fort Hood, Texas.
While on his second tour in Baghdad, Iraq, he was killed while driving a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) on May19, 2007 when an improvised explosive device exploded.
He is buried at Emerald Hills Memorial Park in Kennedale, Texas.
Proudly Sponsored by the Lazzerini Family Foundation
Osbaldo Orozco was born on March 19, 1977 to Jorge and Reyes Orozco, the second of five sons. Raised in Earlimart, California, he attended Earlimart Elementary and Middle School, and graduated from Delano High School in 1995.
He received a full ride football scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. While attending college, he joined ROTC and found a passion for military life. He earned his degree in Social Sciences and his commission as an officer in the Army on June 16, 2001. He married a week after graduating and moved to Fort Hood, Texas.
Orozco joined the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
Osbaldo was killed on April 25, 2003 when his vehicle rolled over while en route to respond to enemy fire in Mezhem, Iraq, north of Tikrit.
Osbaldo is buried in North Kern Cemetery in Delano, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Marc Sandall
Brian J. Pedro was born on March 4, 1983 in Rosamond, California. He attended Twenty-Nine Palms High School and graduated from El Camino High School in Oceanside, California in 2002.
Brian enlisted in the Army in 2006 to follow his grandfather and stepfather’s footsteps. Brian was based out of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico in the 2nd Engineer Battalion while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Brian was killed October 2, 2010 when his unit was attacked with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of Afghanistan’s Baghlan Province, northwest of Kabul. He is buried in Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Oceanside, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Chevron Veterans Network
David S. Perry began his military career in the Army as an aircraft electrician after graduating from Sonora High School in 1984. He then served in Operation Desert Storm in 1990 – 1991 with a military police battalion charged with prisoner care.
Before returning to the Army, Perry was a corrections officer in Wasco. Later he enlisted into the California Army National Guard’s 649th Military Police Force out of San Luis Obispo. As Operation Iraqi Freedom was initiated, he was called to action and honorably served his country.
During his tour in Iraq, a package was sent to where he was stationed; sorrowfully the package was a bomb that took his life on August 10, 2003. Because of his ingenuity, courage and heroism, he was credited with saving about 30 other soldiers when he cleared a perimeter around the package before inspecting it.
David is survived by his wife, Denise; his children, Alyssa, Brandon and Sean; his parents, Jim and Sharon Perry; and his one sister, Diana Perry.
Proudly Sponsored by Bakersfield North Rotary
Benjamin B. Portell was born on December 16, 1980 in Bakersfield, California. He graduated from Stockdale High School in 1999.
Portell also graduated from basic combat training in 2003 and was deployed to Iraq the first time as a member of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in 2005. When Portell redeployed to Iraq, he was in the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps.
Benjamin was killed on December 26, 2007 in Mosul, Iraq when his platoon was ambushed. He was given the Purple Heart.
Portell is buried at the Hillcrest Memorial Park in Bakersfield, California.
Proudly Sponsored by The Hodges Family
Brian “Cody” Prosser
Cody was born in Frazier Park, California on July 17, 1973. He attended Maricopa High School and became captain of the football team. He often worked at the local blacksmith shop that his father owned. Cody graduated from Maricopa High School in 1991.
Shortly after graduating, he enlisted in the United States Army. His military life started at Fort McClellan, Alabama in basic training and military police school. His first assignment as a soldier was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a member of the 21st Military Police Co. (Airborne).
In 1998 Cody became a Special Forces Operator, and then was reassigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group stationed in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Cody was then called to fight in Afghanistan following September 11, 2001.
He was killed at the age of 28 on December 5, 2001 in Kandahar, Afghanistan due to friendly fire.
Proudly Sponsored by Marjorie Nixon
Angel de Jesus Lucio Ramirez enlisted in the Army after graduating in the Class of 2002 from San Fernando High School in Pacoima, California. Ramirez moved with his family from Saltillo, Mexica when he was 11 years old. He adapted quickly to his new homeland and took an interest in the U.S. military.
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 prompted him to enlist in the Army. During his second tour, he made sure to call home two or three times a week to reassure his family that he was doing well. On November 9, 2006, Marina Lucio answered the phone in her Bakersfield home to hear her beloved son offer a quick hello. The 22-year-old soldier said that he was going on a two-day mission and promised to call when he returned.
Three days later, two soldiers in crisp Army uniforms knocked on her door with the news that Ramirez was killed by a roadside bomb on Veterans Day, November 11, 2006. Ramirez was among three soldiers killed in the explosion during a security escort in the town of Ramadi, which is west of Baghdad. They were all assigned to the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Giessen, Germany. Ramirez was granted U.S. citizenship after he was killed.
Proudly Sponsored by RJ and Donna Chaffee
Rudy Augustine Salcido was born July 22, 1975 in West Covina, California. The early years of his life were spent in La Puente, California. He attended Covina High School for three years where he got involved with wrestling. He graduated from Coronado High School in 1993.
Salcido joined the Active Army on February 22, 2000, where he was first assigned to the 3rd COSCOM in Germany as an Ammunition Specialist. He served with the Active Army until March 15, 2005. On May 5, 2006 he was ordered to active duty for the purpose of deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Rudy was killed on November 9, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq after an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle. Rudy is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Scott & Jennifer Barnett
Joshua W. Soto, 25, was from San Angelo, Texas. Joshua graduated from Avenal High School in Avenal, California.
Soto enlisted in the Army in November 2003. After completing training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in Germany and was deployed for the invasion of Iraq. In March 2008, Sgt. Soto was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, in Fort Hood, Texas.
During his training for deployment, Soto’s soldiers were recognized as the battalion’s “Top Bradley Crew”. Among others, he received the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Soto also received three Iraqi Campaign Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Soto was also trained as a combat lifesaver.
Soto died June 16, 2009 in COB Adder Tallil, Iraq of wounds sustained when an improvise explosive device detonated near his vehicle south of Baghdad.
Soto is survived by his wife, Thelma, and son, Jayden.
Proudly Sponsored by Shannon Grove
Marvin Sprayberry III
Marvin R. Sprayberry III was born and raised in Tehachapi, California.
Sprayberry was an Army Sergeant in the 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Before Sprayberry was deployed to Iraq, he was stationed in Germany, where he met and married his wife, Nadja in 2000.
Sprayberry had two sisters and three brothers. His family said he loved working on cars, especially an old El Camino. When not shooting, fishing or playing video games, Sprayberry was often found roughhousing with his brothers.
Sprayberry died on May 3, 2004 in Salad, Iraq when his military vehicle flipped over into a canal while on a combat operation. They stopped to give aid to the vehicle behind them when the road collapsed and the Humvee carrying the young soldiers tumbled into a canal.
Sprayberry is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Proudly Sponsored by Michael Moore
Ramon Villatoro Jr.
Ramon A. Villatoro Jr. was born on February 1, 1986 to Margarita and Ramon Sr. Villatoro. Ramon attended Sierra Middle School and Foothill High School.
Ramon joined the United States Army on July 24, 2004. A Calvary Scout, Ramon was assigned to R Troop, 3rd Squadron, of the 3rd Armored Calvary regiment on January 5, 2005.
Ramon was killed on July 25, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. At the age of nineteen, he died alongside four other Third Armored Calvary Regiment soldiers. Ramon was awarded the Bronze Star medal and the Purple Heart for his actions.
Ramon is buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park in Bakersfield, California.
Proudly Sponsored by Bakersfield Rotary West
Adam O. Zanutto
Adam O. Zanutto was born November 6, 1979. He attended Piute Mountain School and graduated from Foothill High School in 1998. Shortly after, he enrolled at Bakersfield College to study criminal justice.
Adam’s passion to join the Marine Corps grew stronger after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Adam enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2002 and was stationed at Twenty-Nine Palms. There he served three tours of duty in Iraq as an infantry machine gunner and later earned his EMT certificate. During that time, Adam became squad leader and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Adam died March 6, 2006.
Proudly Sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Fong