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Decorated CSM dies from Afghanistan wounds

May. 15, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
This image from 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry's Facebook page shows Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Barreras just before Christmas 2013 in Afghanistan.
This image from 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry's Facebook page shows Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Barreras just before Christmas 2013 in Afghanistan. (Facebook)
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Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R. Barreras, 49, of Tucson, Ariz., died Tuesday at San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire on May 6 in Afghanistan. (Army)

The senior enlisted soldier for 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment has died from wounds suffered in Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced Thursday.

Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Barreras, 49, of Tucson, Arizona, died Tuesday at San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas. He died from wounds suffered on May 6 in Herat province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire, according to information released by DoD.

Barreras became the top enlisted soldier for 2nd Battalion in March 2013. The unit is part of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Elements of 2nd Battalion deployed to Afghanistan in December, according to information from the 1st Armored Division.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Barreras was my friend and battle buddy,” said Lt. Col. Edward Brady, the battalion commander, in a statement. “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 joined the Army in 1988 after serving in the Marine Corps for five years, according to information from the division.

He served for 22 years in the 75th Ranger Regiment, serving in 1st and 2nd Battalions, the Special Troops Battalion and the regimental headquarters.

In the Ranger Regiment, Barreras served in virtually every enlisted duty and leadership position and completed multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Restore/Uphold Democracy in Haiti, and other special operations contingency missions.

Following his time with the Ranger Regiment, Barreras was the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with V device, Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Iraqi Campaign Medal with three stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with four stars, Combat Infantryman Badge with one star, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge with bronze star, Military Freefall Badge and Pathfinder Badge.

Barreras is survived by his parents and two brothers, his wife, three children and three grandchildren.

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