New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered all U.S. and New Mexico state flags to fly at half-staff from sundown Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 to sunset Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 in honor of U.S. Army Sgt 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, of Las Cruces, who was killed in the line of duty in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
Rodriguez and Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez of San Antonio, Texas, were killed Feb. 8, 2020 while on deployment with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
“Our entire state grieves the loss of this young New Mexican who, at age 28, had already distinguished himself as a soldier through 10 deployments in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “My prayers remain with his wife, his parents and all who loved him. His service to our country will be remembered.”
While serving in the Army, Rodriguez was awarded the Bronze Star Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; and Expert and Combat Infantryman Badge. Posthumously, Rodriguez earned the Purple Heart; Combat Action Badge; Bronze Star Medal, with one Oak Leaf Cluster; and the Meritorious Service Medal.
“Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez was selfless and served honorably; he was certainly among the best in our unit,” said Col. John W. Sannes, Commander of the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group, where Rodriguez was assigned at the time of his passing. “Here at the Red Empire, we take care of our own, and Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez’ family will forever be a part of us, we will assist them in any way we can to help them through these trying times.”
A rosary service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 20 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral. The funeral Mass for Rodriguez begins at noon Friday, February 21 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral, 1240 S. Espina St.
Rodriguez will be buried March 3 at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia.
The governor’s executive order directs that all flags will fly at half-staff from sundown Thursday through sundown Friday to coincide with the services for Rodriguez.