Fallen USD-C ‘Dagger' Brigade Soldier Remembered
(February 4, 2011)
|BAGHDAD (February 1, 2011) — Once, while in garrison at Fort
Riley, Kan., a soldier with Company C, Special Troops
Battalion, 2nd “Dagger” Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st
Infantry Division received a pass allowing him to go home
and see his ailing mother, but he lacked sufficient funds to
buy a plane ticket.|
First Infantry Division
shoulder sleeve insignia – former wartime
service (center) and awards and decorations
cover the memorial stand, Jan. 19, at a service
at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq,
honoring the life of Spc. Jose Torre, Jr.
(pictured), formerly with Company C, Special
Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade,
1st Inf. Div., United States Division – Center.
Torre died, Jan. 15, 2011 in Baghdad of wounds
suffered when insurgents attacked his unit.
Hearing about his friend's dilemma, and without
being asked, Spc. Jose A. Torre Jr., a combat
engineer with Company C, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div.,
paid for the ticket.
“I always admired
his willingness to help out anyone, and if you
ask anyone who has ever interacted with Torre, I
would guess they have a few more stories about
the size of his heart to help his battle buddies
out, many times at his own personal cost,” said
1st Lt. Joshua Willis, Torre's platoon leader
with the Route Clearance Team attached to 1st
Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd
AAB, 1st Inf. Div., United States Division –
Torre, known by his friends as a
soldier and person of great generosity,
commitment, competence, and passion, died Jan.
15 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when insurgents
attacked his unit. He was 21 years old.
memorial service in his honor was held, Jan. 19,
at Joint Security Station Loyalty in Baghdad.
Leaders and soldiers from around the “Dagger”
Brigade and USD-C came to pay their respects.
Torre, a Garden Grove, Calif., native,
enlisted in the Army in May 2008, and was on his
second deployment with the “Dagger” Brigade when
he was killed. He is survived by his parents,
sister, and brother.
Torre was a natural
athlete and excelled at every sport he played,
but he especially loved football. His passion
for sports was so evident that his friends joked
that if he was asked about any sport, even
shuffleboard, that he'd have an opinion about
who was the best. He became known as the man to
go to for sports scores, statistics and news.
Torre's passionate attitudes carried over
into his work as a combat engineer.
was smart, aggressive, and resilient,” said
Capt. Phillip Denker, commander of Company C,
STB, 2nd AAB. “He was never at a loss for words,
and through his wit and charisma, could make a
bad situation a little bit better.”
Sgt. Jason Miller, first sergeant of Company C,
STB, 2nd AAB, said he was aware of Torre's
uniquely generous spirit from an incident that
occurred back at Fort Riley.
“It's kind of funny, really,” he said. “My
daughter came to my work one day—she was selling
Girl Scout cookies—and I told her, ‘You can't
tell anyone who your daddy is. You can sell your
cookies but you can't let them know.' So I went
off on some other business, and came back
wondering where she was. Turns out Torre had set
up a table in back and was helping her sell her
cookies. I was like, ‘This kid's all right.' He
was a really special guy.”
He stood out
among his peers for his knowledge of his craft
and his dedication to making himself and those
around him better.
Willis recalled that
during training at the Joint Readiness Training
Center at Fort Polk,
Col. Paul Calvert
(foreground, left), commander of 2nd Advise and
Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United
States Division – Center, and Command Sgt. Maj.
Rodney R. Lewis (foreground, right), command
sergeant major of 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., render
a final salute Jan. 19, 2011 at a memorial
service at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq,
honoring the life of Spc. Jose Torre, Jr.,
formerly with Company C, STB, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf.
Div. Torre died, Jan. 15, in Baghdad of wounds
suffered when insurgents attacked his unit.
La., in preparation for this deployment to Iraq,
Torre was assigned to a quick reaction force,
which is held in reserve in the event of an
“Normally that's where soldiers go to hide out,” Willis
Torre, though, made the most of the situation,
mastering every aspect of being on a QRF and turning his
team into a well-drilled unit that responded well to a
“When I met Torre for the first
time in January 2010, the first thing I thought was, ‘Man,
this guy really knows his stuff,'” said Spc. Benjamin
Cochran, a combat engineer with Company C, STB, 2nd AAB. “If
I ever had a question, he was the first person I came to.”
Torre was seen by everyone who knew him as someone who
could be counted on when the chips are down.
from spending time with him, that I could put my life in
this man's hands,” Denker said.
Willis agreed, and
said he regarded Torre as a fighter, and a person who
wouldn't back down from anything, especially when it came to
defending his battle buddies.
“He took the same
attitude to the fight (in Iraq),” he said. “He never backed
down from wanting to go on patrol. I always felt good
knowing in the back of my mind that he had my back. I
believe he instilled that warrior spirit in all those he
“Torre was the greatest friend anyone
could ever ask for. He was smart, caring, and the most
generous guy I ever knew,” Cochran said. “I truly feel lucky
to have known him.”
At the memorial service, Denker
read John McCrae's famous poem from World War I, “In
Flanders fields,” which reads in part:
We are the dead. Short days ago
Willis said he and his platoon would carry Torre's legacy
with them for the rest of their lives.
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were
loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break
faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies
In Flanders fields.
that even though the enemy would take glory in thinking he
took Spc. Torre's life, those feelings would be in vain,” he
said. “I saw the influence he had on my life in the short
time that I knew him and the influence he had on the
platoon. I also saw that the influence would not go away,
and even though he gave his life, his spirit will not be
taken from his brothers-in-arms.”
Article and photos by Army Spc. Daniel Stoutamire|
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs
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