25 years old from Paterson, New Jersey
3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade
May 11, 2009
On Mother’s Day, Eugenia Gardos made a tabletop shrine to her recently deceased mother — surrounding her photograph with silk roses, a small white rosary cross, two votive candles and a prayer card of Senor de los Milagros, the patron saint of Peru.
The next day, May 11, she added her son's picture to the shrine for the dead.
Sgt. Gardos was killed along with five fellow servicemen; Army Spc. Jacob D. Barton, Army Maj. Matthew P. Houseal, Navy Cmdr. Charles K. Springle and Army Pfc. Michael E. Yates Jr. in the attack on Camp Liberty.
"The first time he left for Iraq, when they would read the lists of the dead on the news, we used to hold our breath, praying he wasn't on it," his mother said. "I don't understand how he could have died this way. I just don't understand it."
Sgt. Galdos had emigrated with his family from Mollendo, Peru, as a child and had been a U.S. citizen since high school. His mother, two older brothers and older sister recalled how he used to hand out candy to children in Iraq the same way he always did in Paterson — never making a trip to the corner bodega without a group of neighborhood children tailing behind, knowing he would buy them candy or a soda.
"We were all here at home," Carlos Bueno, Sgt. Galdos's father, said. "I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard screaming downstairs. I ran downstairs and everyone had thrown themselves to the floor, thrashing around, screaming."
Bueno said he does not feel bitterness toward the man accused in the shootings, whom he described as "mentally ill."
"We want people to know we're proud of our son's Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that," he said. "But not to die in this manner."
All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com
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