Soldier from Tucson dies of wounds suffered in Afghanistan

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- The Department of Defense has announced a U.S. Army soldier from Tucson has died from wounds suffered during an attack in Afghanistan.

Officials said Thursday that Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R. Barreras died Tuesday in San Antonio Military Medical Center. The department says he had suffered wounds earlier this month when his unit was attacked in Harat Province, Afghanistan.

The 49-year-old was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. The 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment is known as the Bobcats.

He was the highest ranking non-commissioned officer with the unit and a top leader at Fort Bliss.

A graduate of Tucson's Sunnyside High School, Barreras served in the Marines for fire years before joining the Army in 1988, according to the Military Marksmanship Association. He was 23 at the time.

"He has served every position including squad leader, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, Regimental Reconnaissance Company sergeant major, and Joint Special Operation Task Force sergeant major," according to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). "He served multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and also deployed in support of Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti."

Barreras earned a variety of awards and decorations during his military career, including a Bronze Star with Valor, three Bronze Star medals, a Purple Heart and three Meritorious Service Medals.

"Command Sgt. Major Barreras was my friend and battle buddy," said Lt. Col. Edward Brady, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment commanding officer. "I've spent more time with him than my wife since I've taken command. I believe that I was the luckiest battalion commander in the Army to have him as my [command sergeant major].

"While every soldier in this formation is extremely saddened by his loss, his Bobcats are doing exactly what he would expect of us: continuing on with the mission and taking the fight to the enemy. This man would do absolutely anything and everything to ensure his soldiers came home safely."

Barreras took over as the senior enlisted adviser for the Bobcats in March 2013.

"To the officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the battalion, I look forward to serving alongside each and every one of you," Barreras said during the ceremony at which he accepted responsibility for the Bobcats. "You have my promise that I will always strive to lead by example, and I will do everything in my power to ensure you have everything you need to locate, close in and destroy the enemies of our country. I will dedicate myself to sharing every bit of my technical and tactical knowledge to ensure our success in combat. I anticipate and expect great things ahead for this battalion and am extremely proud to serve as the next 'Bobcat Seven' of 2-5 Infantry."

Barreras is survived by his parents and brother, his wife, their two children and one grandson.