Emily Perez

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez.

Army 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez

Emily J.T. Perez
Emily J.T. Perez

Died September 12, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Texas; assigned to 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Sept. 12 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee during combat operations in Kifl, Iraq.

Source: Military Times

Army officer, 23, leapt high in life cut short by war

By Rona Marech
September 22, 206

Quick and intense. That’s how Emily J.T. Perez performed on the track, one coach said – and the same could be said for the rest of her short life. She was a star student and talented athlete. She was a captain of her high school track team and a leader at her alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She helped start an AIDS ministry at her church.

Army 2nd Lt Emily Perez
2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez died Sept. 12 after an improvised explosive detonated near her Humvee.

A 23-year-old soldier from Fort Washington in Prince George’s County, 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez was killed while on duty in Al Kifl, Iraq, on Sept. 12. A Medical Service Corps officer, she died during combat after an improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee, according to the Department of Defense.

“She was just the kind of kid you want your own children to be like,” said Joe Rogers, the assistant track coach at West Point.

“Emily, as far as I’m concerned, was one of the most brilliant people I ever met. She was the consummate intellectual,” said the Rev. Michael Bell, executive pastor at Peace Baptist Church in Washington. “But she was not the kind of person who was only book-oriented. … She always wanted to help someone, to help the community.”

When she was in high school, Lieutenant Perez was instrumental in starting the HIV/AIDS ministry at her church. She was also an HIV/AIDS educator with the Red Cross.

Her desire to help led to personal sacrifices: Shortly before shipping out to Iraq, Lieutenant Perez flew from Texas to Maryland to be a bone marrow donor to a stranger who was a match, Pastor Bell said.

Lieutenant Perez, who came from a military family, spent much of her youth in Germany. She returned to the United States in 1998 and graduated from Oxon Hill High School in 2001. She excelled at West Point, where she was a medal-winning athlete and a top-ranked cadet, said Jerry Quiller, the head track coach. She also had one of the highest grade-point averages of all the students on the track team, he said.

“You know the old advertisement – ‘Be all you can be,'” Mr. Quiller said. “You probably couldn’t do better than that.”

In her junior year, when the track team was sorely in need of a triple-jump competitor, Emily Perez – who had never attempted the event – volunteered to give it a try, Mr. Rogers said. She practiced the way she did everything, with intensity, and competed within a few weeks.

After a particularly good jump in an Army-Navy meet, she threw her arms around Mr. Rogers’ neck. “It was one of those spontaneous moments of joy for both of us,” he said.

Army 2nd Lt Emily Perez
Army 2nd Lt Emily Perez

That was Lieutenant Perez, friends said – bubbly, dedicated, talented, opinionated, confident.
Another West Point classmate, Tanesha Love, who sometimes sought tutoring help from Lieutenant Perez, said, “You could hear her laugh from probably miles away. There was no doubt in your mind who that was as soon as you heard it.”

Lieutenant Perez’s family is establishing a scholarship fund for African-American and Hispanic women who share the soldier’s passion for medical services and sociology.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Washington. Lieutenant Perez will be buried Tuesday at the West Point cemetery in New York.

Survivors include her parents, Daniel and Vicki Perez of Fort Washington; and a brother, Kevyn, of Fayetteville, N.C.

Emily was the first female graduate of West Point to die in the Iraq Wardia, the first West Point graduate of the “Class of 9/11” to die in combat, and the first female African-American officer to die in combat.

Source: The Baltimore Sun

15 thoughts on “Emily Perez”

  1. America’s Daughter
    (2 LT Emily Perez, MSC West Point Class of 2005)

    The smile beams in eternal youth
    Vividly revealing every perfect tooth
    As American as apple pie
    To this day your sacrifice still makes me cry
    We mourn America’s daughter tonight

    I ponder on this sacred day
    As I watch my four children laugh and play
    It’s all because you sacrificed
    Foregoing kids or to be a wife
    My security, bought with the currency of your life
    We mourn America’s daughter tonight

    I look out on the marble blooms
    That emanate from the heroes tombs
    Your sacrifice will not be in vain
    We will not forget your family’s pain
    One of the first in your class to die
    We mourn America’s daughter tonight

    May time and tissue dry your tears
    Shed with sadness for stolen years
    Though pictures may fade with the pass of time
    Her images remain vividly clear in your minds
    America mourns your daughter tonight

    Although we’ve never met
    I feel I know you very well
    As a kid you excelled at everything you ever tried
    But on 9/11 the innocence of a generation died
    While others supported the troops with ribbons and flags
    Emily joined the Long Gray Line
    And in our defense America’s daughter died

  2. I am so taken back as she took my place for this mission. I can not even tell you how it has affected me for so many years to this day. I am so grateful for the years that has passed and because of the sake of Emily Perez.

    1. Hey Jason. First off, thanks for your service. I was in Kuwait and Iraq from 2002-2004. If you ever feel like you just need to talk to somebody, even if it’s just to listen, I’m here man.

    2. Jason, That was a tough break. Hope you are staying well. Too many of us lose our way after returning home. What are you doing with life now? Being a veteran, you have a lot to offer. Are you still serving?
      I was at FOB Lindsey in 2008/2009. I was fortunate to have been at Navy Warrior Transition Program five years ago.

    3. Hey Jason, I’m so glad that this was an outlet for you to express your thoughts and feelings about what happened on this day in 2006. Please continue to be strong and courageous with this discussion as your feelings may never fade away but may be healed over time. I know you have been strong, to carry the loss of Emily in your heart and mind all of these years. Just know that your presence is living proof the the world is full of hope and faith and gratitude which are the superpowers that carry us through.

    4. Jason,

      I only served a short time in the Navy, but I come from a long line of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. I have never lost sight of the individuals that have given so much for me, my family, my neighbors and my fellow countrymen. I appreciate YOUR service and YOU remembering those around you. Well done!


    5. Dear Jason, I am Edward Ferguson who was contacted by Karaen Grimord of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. She asked me to contact you and give you some information about an organization that I am connected with, based in Springfield, Missouri.

      The Warrior’s Journey was started to help military veterans get through difficult time after being in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. Please go online and check our “TheWarriorsJourney.org” for information to help anyone who has PTSD or any lingering affects from serving in the war zones. There are videos, and testimonies, from many veterans and family members regarding getting help with the after effects of being in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      If you want to contact me I am available at: edwardlferguson.1941@gmail.com.

      My wife and I spent 18 years, in Japan and Germany, with U.S. military members and their families.
      For three and a half years I volunteered under the Command Chaplain at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. I have met with and talked to several hundred veterans that were sent through the Landstuhl hospital. Karen Grimord and I worked together at the Landstuhl hospital.
      We are all concerned with your feelings of pain and want to see you helped.

    6. Jason,
      Father God was in control then just as He is now. Emily would not have it any other way.
      Please honor her by living in love and truth.
      Emily’s gunner, Truesdale, has our contact info. Please feel free to get it and contact us.
      You will be in our prayers.

      Blessings and Peace,
      Mrs. Perez

  3. Hey my friend. I feel you. It’s amazing what I still hold onto from deployments and even just my service. The situations that I still today ask why am I here and others aren’t. Stay strong and remember there is love and support all around you. Lean on those.

  4. Jason, there’s not a lot that can be said to assuage your feelings but you can always keep her memory alive in your heart. Emily took the mission as all good soldiers do at times to help a friend and you have probably done the same thing. I will keep you both in my thoughts and if you would like you can reach out to me.

  5. Jason,
    I echo Stuart’s comments. He is right. You must always keep her near to your heart, never letting her memory fade — but you must also look forward to the good things that lie ahead. Isn’t that what she would have wanted you to do?

  6. Beautiful tribute to Emily. And Jason, I think the debt of gratitude and responsibility you live with daily is shouldered to some degree by all of us. THANK YOU LHCP for personalizing Emily’s sacrifice not only to honor her but also to bear a small portion of Jason’s weight.
    As a Navy Chaplain reach out any time…. 6013351984. No one ever needs to walk alone.

  7. For as always the spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living.

    I served in the First Gulf War. It was a very different war from its successor after OIF. I only caught a glimpse of what the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans went through and are still going through. Someone like Emily truly never dies. There is a bond that veterans and their families experience that transcends time and space. There will always be trials and disappointments but Emily’s life proves that ultimately they are overcome. After a loved one, a friend, or a fellow veteran dies they become closer to you than they ever could have been when they were with you. Emily and the thousands of veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 will always be with us. We simply have to reach out to them and they will be there.

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