View Full Version : SPC Rafael "TJ" Carrillo

07-02-2005, 14:13
A Teammate of mine's Stepson. Not SF, but it looked like he might
have been headed that way from his CO's comments.. RIP, TJ.


[OutlawFRG] SPC Rafael Carrillo
"Powell, Sherman S. CPT 1-64 AR BN" <sherman.powell@us.army.mil>
Sat, 2 Jul 2005 14:58:38 +0400

Greetings to the Outlaw Families and Friends.

On June 28, two days before I changed command with CPT Dick, SPC Rafael Carrillo from the Mortar Platoon was killed in action by an apparent IED attack. He had been serving as the gunner on an M1114 armored Humvee, and was conducting an area security mission at a critically important road junction. SPC Carrillo was 21 years old. CPT Dick and I had driven through that same intersection five minutes before the attack took place. Two other Soldiers were injured: SPC Jose Lopez, a medic attached to the Mortars, who suffered a slight fracture in his lower leg and has been evacuated out of theater; and PFC Daniel Newberry, the Humvee’s driver, who suffered a concussion and bruised neck/back, but was able to return to duty the next day. SGT Neal Bonham, the vehicle commander, was unhurt. After the attack took place, PFC Newberry was temporarily knocked out but quickly recovered, got back in the truck, and drove at top speed back to Camp Rustamiyah. Newberry and the rest of the Humvee crew performed magnificently, keeping SPC Carrillo alive long enough to deliver him to the Aid Station and the expert medical care that was waiting. The Battalion Surgeon and PA, MAJ Tom Adams and CPT Darren Briseno, as well as members of the Battalion Medical Platoon such as 2LT Miller, SFC Pauwels and SSG Drayton, and members of the Brigade Medical Company, worked together expertly to stabilize him, but he passed away later, after being evacuated to the 86th Combat Surgical Hospital. Our battalion held the memorial ceremony this morning on Camp Rustamiyah. Attached is my tribute to SPC Carrillo. Several other Soldiers, including LTC Farrell, SGT Bonham, and SPC Ghani gave tributes as well. SSG Genes, the Mortar Platoon Sergeant, read a bible passage. I’ve got all the tributes saved on the FRG site at the following address: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OutlawFRG/files/%20Memorials/ And since I am now the former commander, this will be my last official message to the group. I wish all of you the best of luck in the future. And the hearts of all Outlaws go out to SPC Carrillo’s family during this difficult time.

CPT Sherman Powell

Specialist Rafael “TJ” Carrillo was the kind of guy who was always ready for anything. He lived his life in a way that brought humor, and joy, to the people around him every minute of every day. It was his special gift. No matter how bad the situation might look, he was able to find the right words, the right joke, to lift everyone’s spirits and get them through the day. On top of everything else, on top of being an absolutely squared away, completely STRAC Humvee gunner, who you never had to check on, because you could always count on him to be straight. On top of all that, he made this tremendous contribution. It was important for the Mortar Platoon, in fact it was vital, because until about a month ago there were only 3 Sergeants in the whole platoon, and there still are Specialists for squad leaders, and the lack of junior NCO’s could have led to some serious problems if not for people like Carrillo, who kept everyone in the right frame of mind, a positive one. With a single joke he could make us realize how stupid and insignificant most of our own problems really are.

Rafael Carrillo is the son of an Air Force veteran. He joined the Army out of Texas, went to Basic and AIT at Fort Benning with a lot of the guys who are still with us in the Mortar Platoon, and also went to Jump School, before winding up in 3ID and deploying for Operation Desert Spring and OIF-1. After earning his Combat Infantryman’s Badge at the age of 19, he redeployed with the rest of the Desert Rogues and then went directly into a year-long trainup which took him to the National Training Center in California, and the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana, in a six-month period. SPC Carrillo went home to Austin for his 21st Birthday this past Thanksgiving. I remember giving him a hard time about it. I told him it must be great to go home and finally get the chance to drink, and he played it completely right. I can’t remember his exact comment, but he delivered it with a totally straight face and it made bust out laughing.

I remember riding with Carrillo on Route Plutos security a few times. He was completely professional and used expert judgment at all times. He impressed me. I also remember hearing him on the Icom radio one morning, during a security patrol at Checkpoint [xxx], just after the sun came up, a few weeks ago, and he was doing this dead-on imitation of SPC Freedle, I mean absolutely perfect. And we’d been on site for a couple hours, and been up since 0300, and probably a couple guys were starting to lose some steam at that point. But when Carrillo came across the radio, it was the perfect thing to break up the dullness and get you fired back up. And that was his gift. He didn’t have the rank to tell you to wake your self up, but he could get the same thing done anyhow.

On the night of June 28th, the day Carrillo was taken from us, we held a prayer service here. During the tributes, the 1SG had a chance to say a few words of his own. And what he said was interesting. He said SPC Carrillo was only one of two guys he had ever met in 19 years, who was like Carrillo. Because he could imitate anybody. Absolutely anyone. Perfectly. At one point last year, out at the National Training Center in California, 1SG Baugh ordered Carrillo to do an impression of him. And after a little bit of prudent hesitation, and multiple attempts to disobey the 1SG’s orders, followed by requests for clarification, he started up, and delivered this absolutely dead-on impression of the First Sergeant. To his face. Which probably took a lot of guts. But he pulled it off. I heard he could imitate me too. And he got into trouble sometimes, but like SSG Genes said, he was the kind of guy you couldn’t stay mad at. Even at the prayer service on the day of his death, in our hour of maximum grief, he was still bringing joy into our hearts. And it was remarkable… he turned it into an Irish funeral.

Two days from now, when we celebrate Independence Day, we’re going to honor the American heroes who gave their all to make our country free, 229 years ago. We’re also going to honor the heroes from other nations, who crossed an ocean to help us in our hour of need, when the odds were stacked against us, when things could have gone either way, when there was little chance of reward and a hell of a lot to lose. But because we had friends in other countries who were willing to help us, we became a free nation.

Well, June 28th, the day Carrillo died, was Iraq’s Independence Day. The one-year anniversary of their first free and representative Government. Brought about by the generosity and sacrifices of people like SPC Rafael Carrillo. It’s completely due to the courage of him, and so many others, that this country which we’re helping onto its feet, will soon be a free nation, able to defend itself and destroy its enemies.

The future does not belong to the faint of heart. It also doesn’t belong to quitters and cowards. Or the thugs and killers at checkpoint [xxx]. It belongs to people like Rafael Carrillo, who was taken from us against our will, but who, in the short few years that we were honored by his presence, showed us the right way to live, and enjoy life, and gave us the inspiration we needed to keep us going in the darkest hours.

He’s going to keep inspiring us, and keep motivating us, to complete the mission for which he, and his family, have paid such a high price, and we will see him again.

07-02-2005, 20:35
It doesn't matter where he was from or where he was going - he was one of ours, taken away too soon while doing his duty. Rest in Peace Soldier. Peregrino

07-04-2005, 17:26
"These are times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." --Thomas Paine

God Bless, and Rest in Peace

07-04-2005, 23:18
I agree with Peregrino. The man was putting his life on the line for his Country.
Always tough to lose a friend whit. Sorry for your loss.

Rest in Peace SPC.........