Sgt Ronald A. Rodriguez.

Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez, 26, of Falls Church, Va., died Aug. 23 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

By Nicholas F. Benton

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ronald A. Rodriguez, 26, a 2002 graduate of Falls Church's JEB Stuart High School, was killed in Afghanistan Monday by an IED blast while conducting dismounted combat operations in Helmand Province, according to a Marine Corp. press release issued yesterday.No details have been worked out yet for his burial at the Arlington National Cemetery, his mother, Maria, told the News-Press yesterday. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his father, Francisco, and three brothers who continue to reside in Falls Church. rodriguez Ronald Rodriguez Rodriguez was an athlete at JEB Stuart, playing soccer and basketball. He enlisted in the Marines following graduation and was deployed to Iraq in 2003, returning there in 2004. He was sent to Afghanistan last summer. Condolences were sent to the Rodriguez family yesterday by Fairfax Supervisor Penelope Gross, who told the News-Press that it is Fairfax County policy to fly flags at half-mast in mourning in such cases. She wrote, "The fact he died a hero provides some solace, I am sure, but the loss of your son is heartbreaking, nonetheless."

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Marine Saluting Courtesy Sgt Michal S. Williams

He lives alone In the hills and the trees
He bares his soul To the cool mountain breeze
He talks to the Spirit He listens to the Wind
They shield him from memories Buried deep within
The world has forgotten The sacrifice he made
The scars he bears remind him Of the high price he paid
Freedom is not given But with blood it has been bought
By warriors such as he And by the wars they fought
We can't forget our warriors Or let them die in vain
But with respect and honor We can help to ease their pain
Our Freedom will be taken If no one will defend
God bless our Forgotten Warriors Who live to fight again.

God and the soldier all men adore
in times of trouble, but no more.
For when war is ended and all things righted,
God is neglected, the old soldier slighted.