LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- A Las Cruces soldier was among two U.S. Army soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Defense said Sunday.
Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces and Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, died Saturday from injuries they suffered in combat.
Rodriguez was born in Las Cruces, where he graduated from Mayfield High School in 2009. He enlisted in the Army in October 2009. He and Gutierrez were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
“Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez was selfless and served honorably; he was certainly among the best in our unit,” said Col. John W. Sannes, 7th Special Forces Group Commander.
Rodriguez was deployed eight times with the 75th Ranger Regiment and twice with 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, as part of anti-terrorism missions.
Rodriguez and Gutierrez have both been posthumously promoted from staff sergeant to Sergeant First Class and awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.