Libardo Eduardo Caraveo
Major, United States Army
By Claudia Grisales
Courtesy of the American-Statesman
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Editor's note: Major Libardo Caraveo was one of 13 people killed Thursday at Fort Hood.
Army Major Libardo Eduardo Caraveo didn't much like his first name, which he often abbreviated as simply "L," going instead by Eduardo or his nickname, "Lalo."
Caraveo, a longtime psychotherapist, told his best friend Rudy Valenzuela that he thought his parents really meant to call him "Librado," which means "free" and "liberated" in Spanish.
In retrospect, Valenzuela believes his friend was right.
"Freedom. That was him. He lived freely, and he gave to ensure that other people could have the same opportunity," said Valenzuela, a Tucson, Arizona, attorney who called Caraveo his close friend for 25 years.
Caraveo, 52, was killed in the shootings at Fort Hood last week and was among the 13 people honored at a memorial service Tuesday. He is survived by a wife, three sons and two stepdaughters.
Family and friends say Caraveo broke through the barriers of a life that began with little promise, as the youngest of seven siblings of an impoverished family that immigrated from Juárez, Chihuahua, to El Paso.
"When he was born ... there wasn't money to support us," said Caraveo's oldest brother, Fernando Caraveo, 71, of El Paso. "He began to study, and would say, 'If God helps me, then I am going to help people.'"
He channeled his boundless energy to travel the country to counsel, in some cases, the most challenged populations. Along the way he made lifelong friends and rose in the ranks of the places at which he worked.
Caraveo served nearly 10 years in the Army National Guard, where he counseled soldiers. He also had a 16-year career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a post that took him to counsel inmates at a correctional facility in Safford, Arizona, where a memorial service also was held for Caraveo on Tuesday.
Caraveo graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso and was the first in his family to get a college degree. He went on to get a master's degree from Texas Tech University and his doctorate from the University of Arizona, said sons Jose, 25, and Eduardo, 31, during their visit to Fort Hood on Tuesday.
Fort Hood was just another stop in a journey that took Caraveo to Arizona, New Mexico, California, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., before returning to Texas. Before long, he was to be shipped out to Afghanistan to treat soldiers suffering from trauma.
"What I admired most about my dad is he always wanted to outdo himself," said Jose Caraveo, who is preparing to enter the medical field himself. "He was a noble person and a hard worker who really built a legacy that is bigger than all of us."
Elaine LeVine, a New Mexico State University professor who got to know Caraveo when he studied there in the late 1990s, said he left an indelible impression on the friends he left behind.
"He would still call in every once in a while, send an e-mail and see how everyone was doing," she said. "He cared deeply about people."
Now, LeVine says it's time to give back. She is helping launch a memorial fund in Caraveo's name through a division of the American Psychological Association that she hopes will aid students from impoverished backgrounds.
"He was that model for those around him," she
said. "He really believed in everybody's ability to break through boundaries."
Major Libardo Eduardo Caraveo, one of the 13 people killed in the Fort Hood rampage Thursday, was an Army psychologist who grew up in Juárez and El Paso and attended the University of Texas at El Paso.
He was also a counselor at Gadsden High School during the early 1980s, according to GHS Principal Carey Chambers.
Gadsden High junior Ivan Aguero, a cadet ensign on the Navy JROTC drill team, said it was nice to be able to show respect to the veterans attending the ceremony and those, like Caraveo, who have fallen.
"It's a good feeling," he said, "because it's saying 'thank you' to them for their service."
Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge, Virginia., arrived in the United States in his teens from Juárez, knowing very little English, said his son, also named Eduardo Caraveo.
Caraveo earned his doctorate in psychology from the University of Arizona and worked with bilingual special-needs students at Tucson-area schools before entering private practice.
His son told the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson that Caraveo had arrived at Fort Hood on Wednesday and was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Eduardo Caraveo spoke to the newspaper from his mother's Tucson home.
Rudy Valenzuela, of Tucson, called Caraveo a good man and described him as his best friend.
He said Caraveo had three children and several relatives in El Paso.
Caraveo, who graduated from Bowie High School and grew up in Segundo Barrio, was in the Readiness Processing Center in Fort Hood when a shooter opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 30 people.
He'd been in the National Guard for 10 years, and had spent one year at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As a member of the 467th Combat Stress Control Detachment, he would have been responsible for dealing with battlefield trauma in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama saluted the 13 Americans killed at Fort Hood as heroes who died for their country at a memorial service attended by thousands Tuesday.
He spoke about each of the slain soldiers in turn, saying of Caraveo, "Major Libardo Eduardo Caraveo spoke little English when he came to America as a teenager. But he put himself through college, earned a Ph.D. and was helping combat units cope with the stress of deployment."
NOTE: Major Caraveo will be laid to rest with
full military honors on 25 November 2009 at 9 AM at Arlington National
Major L. Eduardo Caraveo, 52, of Woodbridge was laid to rest with full military honors, his family at his graveside.
The Army psychologist was one of 13 killed in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, earlier this month.
Caraveo and Army Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman were both buried at Arlington this week, said cemetery spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst.
A spokesman for Caraveo's family said that his burial was a private matter, and that members of the family did not wish to speak to the press.
Caraveo's widow, Angela Rivera, and his five sons and stepdaughters were at the ceremony for Caraveo, who counseled troops returning from and headed for war.
Though the clouds that prevailed most of the morning still hung over the cemetery, the light mist that fell subsided as soon as mourners arrived.
At 11:15 a.m., the Army band known as "Pershing's Own" began playing over a hillside near the gravesite. Behind them, a caisson pulled by six white horses carried Caraveo's casket to the grave, where about 50 people were waiting to pay their respects.
Seated near the grave was Caraveo's immediate family, and nearby were five soldiers holding U.S. flags to be presented to the family members.
Rivera received the flag that had been draped over Caraveo's casket.
Following last rites, soldiers fired three rifle volleys as is customary at military funerals. A bugler then played taps, accompanied by a brief moan of sorrow and many tears by family members.
The full Army band then played two renditions of "America the Beautiful" as the funeral detail folded the flag draped over the casket into a triangle, and then presented it to the family.
In the distance, at another graveside, soldiers fired three more volleys. Two children clinging to their mother asked, "Was that the lightning, mommy?"
Fifteen minutes after the ceremony began, the Army reservist was officially laid to rest.
Caraveo was a Medical Service Corps officer in the Army Reserves at Fort Belvoir. He led seminars on marriage counseling, anger management, positive thinking and diversity training.
His son told an Arizona newspaper that his father came to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager.
Posted: 16 November 2009 Updated: 5 December 2009