16 May 2003:
Courtesy of The Washington Post:
Airman's Service Honored at Arlington
Tactical Air Specialist Killed in Afghanistan
The C-130's low thrum could be heard before the plane was spotted, flying over the freshly readied grave of Airman First Class Raymond Losano.
“Airplane!” his 2-year-old daughter, Alorah, cried excitedly, pointing at the clear sky with one hand and holding a red-white-and-blue lollipop in the other. For the rest of yesterday's service at Arlington National Cemetery, she took note of all manner of aircraft overhead, from the military helicopters flying past to the commercial jetliners glinting high in the sky in the afternoon sun.
Her father, a tactical air command and control specialist with the 14th Air Support Squadron based at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina, died a hero April 25, 2003, during a firefight with enemy troops in eastern Afghanistan. Her mother, Sarah, who brought her to the cemetery to say goodbye, is expecting a second baby in September. Her grandparents, Roberto and Oralia Losano, also were close by.
Losano was awarded a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart posthumously. An honor guard narrator said that his quick action in calling in air support helped his men repel their attackers. “He was mortally wounded defending his team,” the narrator said.
He had turned 24 five days before his death.
“In the Christian tradition, Ray stands as a martyr,” said Major G. Paul Herbert, the Air Force chaplain who conducted the graveside service.
Sarah Losano received the American flag that had draped her husband's coffin. Her in-laws were presented with a second flag.
Their son had been in Afghanistan about two weeks when he was killed, his uncle Henry Gonzales said.
“He died a hero in every sense of the word,” Sarah Losano, 23, told the Tucson Citizen. “I'm so proud of him and what he did for all of us.”
Losano grew up in Del Rio, Texas, and attended high school in Tucson, according to the Citizen. After earning his GED, he worked about two years for Dan Eckstrom, a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.
He dealt with the elderly a lot “because he had a real knack for helping them out and making them feel pretty special,” Eckstrom recalled this week.
One day, when Losano was out of the office, Eckstrom answered the phone. It was an elderly woman, calling for Losano. “I said, ‘Ray's not available right now, but can I help you?' ” Eckstrom said, chuckling at the memory. “She said, ‘Oh no, no, no, Ray's helping me.'”
It wasn't just seniors who got his attention. Losano also volunteered with youth groups and for neighborhood cleanup efforts.
He received an award from the FBI and the League of United Latin American Citizens for his community service, Eckstrom said.
“He was always willing to share, never afraid to go out of his way, even on his own time,” Eckstrom said. “Ray had a big future in front of him.”
Every available member of the 14th Air Support Operation Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., attended the funeral of Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano at Arlington National Cemetery here May 14. Losano, 24, was killed April 25 during a firefight in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. He was a tactical air command and control specialist assigned to the 14th ASOS
Air Force General John P. Jumper removes his hat as he presents a flag and offers condolences to Oralia and Roberto Losano, the parents of Airman First Class Raymond Losano, as other family members look on.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper consoles Sarah following her husband’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery here May 14. Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, 24, was killed April 25 during a firefight in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. He was a tactical air command and control specialist assigned to the 14th Air Support Operation Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C.
7 May 2003:
Memorial Services Scheduled For Fallen Del Rio Airman
Relatives and friends will pay their last respects Wednesday and Thursday to a fallen Del Rio Airman.
Raymond Losano, 24, died while on patrol in Afghanistan on April 25, 2003, after his unit was ambushed by snipers.
A church service is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Del Rio.
A visitation will be held Wednesday and Thursday at Del Rio Funeral Home.
A memorial service and public viewing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Del Rio Civic Center.
Losano will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next week.
4 May 2003:
Airman First Class Raymond Losano, 24, was fatally wounded Friday while on patrol, his father, Roberto Losano of Del Rio told The Associated Press.
Air Force officials notified the family on Saturday. Losano said his daughter received the news, and told him and his wife later that day when they returned from a trip to Arizona.
The family last spoke to the Raymond Losano on Easter Sunday, his birthday, his father said.
Losano joined the Air Force in November 2001 and was deployed to Afghanistan about a month ago from the North Carolina Air Force base. He is survived by his wife, Sarah, who is expecting their second child, and a 2-year-old daughter.
Roberto Losano said a ceremony for his son is scheduled this week at Pope Air Force Base. “He just wanted to serve his county,” he said. “Just like Jesus shed his blood for us on the cross, that's the way he shed his blood for us, so the world will be better and others can have freedom like us.”
Raymond Losano lived in Del Rio until his sophomore year of high school, when he moved to Tucson, Arizona, to live with relatives. After high school, he attended college for two years before enlisting in the Air Force, the Del Rio News-Herald reported in its Sunday editions.
Memorial Service Held For Pope Airman Who Died In Battle
3 May 2003:
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Those who remember Raymond Losano say he was a devoted father and husband and a great Airman First Class.
Losano died in Afghanistan on April 25, 2003, after he was wounded in a battle near the Pakistani border.
His brother, Robert Losano Jr., said at a service at Pope Air Force Base that he's proud of his brother and won't forget the sacrifice he made for his country.
Tears welled up in the eyes of those present during a slide show of pictures of Losano.
The pictures included him a child, as a teenager wearing a tuxedo on prom night and as a father holding his newborn daughter.
Losano's wife, Sarah, is expecting their second daughter in September.
From a news report: 3 May 2003
Love, tears honor Airman Losano
Airman First Class Raymond Losano was a loving brother and son, a devoted father and husband, a loyal friend and a great serviceman.
That was how Robert Losano Jr. described his younger brother during a memorial service Friday at Pope Air Force Base.
Losano, who turned 24 on April 20, 2003, died in Afghanistan on April 25, 2003, after he was wounded in a battle near the Pakistani border.
Private Jerod R. Dennis, a Fort Bragg soldier, also died during the battle against about 20 Afghan rebels. He was 19.
“Brother, we love you. We are so very proud of you. And we will never forget the ultimate sacrifice you made for our freedom,” Losano Jr. said while standing in a chapel crowded with young men and women wearing Air Force dress uniforms and battle dress uniforms.
Losano Jr. described his brother as a rambunctious boy with a never-ending curiosity. He talked about Raymond's childhood, when he dismantled the family's gas meter using a plastic tool kit.
Staff Sergeant Francisco Corona told the crowd that when they first met, Losano liked Corona's last name, and the two became friends.
Corona said he regretted never telling Losano that he loved him, “but I think Ray would have looked at me funny if I had done that. I think Ray understood that I loved him.”
Tears welled up in the eyes of those present during a slide show of pictures of Losano.
The pictures were of a chubby-cheeked boy with a toothless, mischievous grin; a teenager wearing a tuxedo on prom night; a father holding his newborn daughter; a recruit in basic training; and an airman smiling with Afghan children during his recent deployment.
“Ray truly loved the liberties and freedoms that this flag represents, so much that he willingly gave his life,” said Captain Bradley Dyer, Losano's commanding officer. “He was a good man, a true soldier. We needed him in Afghanistan and he was eager to go.”
An unborn child
Losano's wife, Sarah, is expecting their second daughter in September. She and their daughter, Alorah, were seated in the front row of the chapel with her husband's parents, Robert and Oralia Losano, his brother and his sister, Melinda Hernandez.
Losano's family lives in Del Rio, Texas. A memorial service will be held in Del Rio on Thursday.
Losano will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at 2 p.m. May 14.
The future looked bright for Sarah and Raymond Losano.
The young couple would have celebrated their third wedding anniversary June 28.
And they were looking forward to the birth of their second child, possibly another daughter, in September.
But it was hard Monday to think about such happy times.
Sarah Losano, 23, of Redding had to go shopping for a black dress to wear to her husband's memorial service.
Raymond Losano, a 24-year-old Texas native and Airman 1st Class, was one of two U.S. special operations soldiers killed Friday when American troops clashed with suspected Taliban gunmen near the Pakistan border.
For Sarah Losano, the past few days have been filled with unspeakable tragedy and overwhelming support from loved ones, friends and strangers.
“Everybody has been so wonderful, so supportive,” she said Monday. “It's nice to know that people appreciate and recognize what he did.”
Still, the void in her life — and in her heart — are burdens too heavy for someone so young to bear.
“It's hard to think I am never going to see him again,” she said.
And she's heartsick that her husband will never see their 2-year-old-daughter, Alorah, grow up, nor ever get to hold their unborn child.
“He won't ever know them,” she said. “That's the biggest loss.”
A Bremerton, Wash., native who moved to Redding in time for the eighth grade, Sarah Losano is a 1998 Enterprise High School graduate who met her husband while they were attending a community college in Tucson, Ariz.
And theirs was a love story from the start.
“He swept me off my feet,” she said, adding that it was love at first sight for both of them. “It kind of clicked.”
After dating about a year, they married in Las Vegas. She gave birth to Alorah two years ago.
With a young family to support, Losano joined the U.S. Air Force, a decision his wife supported.
Her husband's father served in the U.S. Air Force, and although Losano joined the service for the opportunity it afforded him and his young family, he came to love his job.
“He really did become proud of his job,” she said. “He really did love it, and he worked hard at what he did.”
But his was hazardous duty, and he rarely spoke of the dangers as a member of the special operations team that parachuted behind enemy lines with U.S. Army Rangers and called in airstrikes.
“He didn't want me to worry,” she said.
With her husband deployed to Afghanistan about six to eight weeks ago, Sarah's father, Paul Ahern, who works for Redding Electric Utility, drove to North Carolina to bring her back to Redding while her husband was overseas.
Losano learned of her husband's death Friday when a detail from Beale Air Force Base near Marysville arrived at her doorstep.
Losano's body has been moved to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. A memorial is being held Friday at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The body will then be sent to his hometown in Del Rio, Texas, for a service there, and Losano is making arrangements to have her husband buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
“He is a hero and I don't anyone to forget what he's done,” she said.
For herself, Sarah Losano said she will stay in Redding for the birth of her second child.
Driving along Interstate 5 on Monday, Losano said seeing the giant U.S. flag off Bechelli Lane waving at half-staff for her late husband brought tears to her eyes and pride in her heart.
“It really touched me,” she said.
Sarah Losano, 23, takes time to play with her 2-year-old daughter, Alorah, Monday
at her father's Redding home. Sarah's husband, Airman First Class Raymond
Losano, was killed in Afghanistan last week.
Airman killed in Afghanistan ‘hero in every sense'
29 April 2003
TUCSON, Arizona — The widow of an airman killed in Afghanistan says her husband “died a hero in every sense” and their daughters will know it.
Raymond Losano, 24, an Airman First Class, was wounded fatally Friday while accompanying Army paratroopers behind enemy lines to call in airstrikes. The Defense Department announced his death Monday.
Losano was a tactical air command and control specialist with the 14th Air Support Operation Squadron at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
“He died a hero in every sense of the word,” Losano's widow, Sarah, 23, said from her home in Redding, California, “I'm so proud of him and what he did for all of us. I've never been so proud in my life.” … His girls will know what he did and why daddy's gone.”
The couple has a 2-year-old daughter, Alorah, and another daughter is expected in September, said Mrs. Losano, who moved to Redding to live with her father when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan two months ago.
Losano grew up in Del Rio, Texas, but moved to Tucson, home of his mother's family, as a high school sophomore. He obtained a GED, then attended Pima Community College.
Mrs. Losano told the Tucson Citizen that she spoke with her husband Thursday. She said he cut his call short because he had to investigate some suspicious noises.
She said Air Force officials came to see her about 7 a.m. Friday, and that she first was mad, then shocked.
“‘I just talked to him,”‘ she said. “‘No, you must have the wrong guy.”‘
Officials told her the outnumbered Americans were attacked and that Losano called in an airstrike that chased the attackers off.
“But it was too late by then,” said Mrs. Losano. “When he called in, he saved lives. I'm very proud of him. I never will let what he did go unremembered.”
April 29, 2003:
BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Pakistani troops working with U.S. soldiers captured two men trying to retrieve the body of a rebel from the scene of a gunbattle that also left two U.S. troops dead, an army spokesman said yesterday.
U.S. soldiers backed by A-10 tankbuster fighter planes and Apache helicopter gunships rushed to the area Sunday after men were spotted at the scene of Friday's battle in Shkin in southeastern Afghanistan, Colonel Roger King said from Bagram Air Base, the headquarters of U.S. operations in Afghanistan.
In a sign of increasing cooperation with the Pakistani military on the border region, U.S. commanders immediately contacted the Pakistani authorities, who agreed to help trap the men at the border, King said.
King did not identify the captured men.
However, he said that at least one of the rebels killed Friday apparently was a foreign fighter who may have belonged to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. He did not reveal the fighter's nationality.
The deaths happened after U.S. troops engaged at least 20 rebels in a brief gunbattle about 1,000 yards from the Pakistani border, King said.
The troops were investigating reported activity by a group of men armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 assault rifles.
U.S. troops said they killed three rebels, although only two bodies have been found, King said. Four American soldiers and an Afghan militia fighter also were wounded.
The slain U.S. troops were identified as Airman First Class Raymond Losano, 24, of Del Rio, Texas, and Private Jerod R. Dennis, 19, of Oklahoma.
Pentagon confirms death of Pope AFB airman in Afghanistan
April 28, 2003
RALEIGH, North Carolina – An airman from Pope Air Force Base was killed in Afghanistan last week, the Pentagon confirmed Monday.
Airman First Class Raymond Losano, 24, of Del Rio, Texas, died of wounds suffered on Friday while accompanying Army paratroopers behind enemy lines to call in airstrikes, the military said.
His father, Roberto Losano of Del Rio, told The Associated Press Saturday his son died while on patrol.
Losano was a tactical air command and control specialist assigned to the 14th Air Support Operation Squadron at Pope Air Force Base.
Losano joined the Air Force in November 2001 and was deployed to Afghanistan about a month ago from the North Carolina base. He is survived by his wife, Sarah, who is expecting their second child, and a 2-year-old daughter.
“He died a hero in every sense of the word,” said Sarah Losano, 23, from her home in Redding, Calif. “I'm so proud of him and what he did for all of us. I've never been so proud in my life. His girls will know what he did and why daddy's gone.”
- A1C US AIR FORCE
- VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 11/13/2001 – 04/25/2003
- DATE OF BIRTH: 04/20/1979
- DATE OF DEATH: 04/25/2003
- DATE OF INTERMENT: 05/14/2003
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 7878
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard