Roscoe again hit by death in Iraq
Decorated soldier Conrad Alvarez kept
close ties to home, high school
The other two soldiers were Cpl. Albert Bitton, 20,
of Chicago, Ill., and Spc. Micheal B. Matlock Jr.,
21, of Glen Burnie, Md. The men were members of the
101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.
A memorial service for the fallen soldiers will be
held in Iraq. Alvarez's body has been flown back to
the United States for funeral services, said family
spokesman the Rev. Joel Miller of Big Spring. He
said he did not have funeral details yet.
Alvarez was the second Roscoe High School graduate
to die in Iraq recently. Last month, Army Staff Sgt.
Wayne Jeffries, 37, was killed after his convoy was
hit by a bomb.
Alvarez was an infantryman assigned to A Co., 1st
Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade
Combat Team. He entered the Army in March 2005 and
arrived at Fort Campbell in August 2005.
He is survived by his wife, Maria, of Oak Grove,
Ky.; daughters, Celeste and Alyssa, of Sweetwater;
father, Arthur, whose address is unknown; and
mother, Belinda Garcia, of Big Spring, according to
the Fort Campbell news release.
Relatives could not be reached for comment Friday.
Miller said the family was in shock after learning
of Alvarez's death Wednesday morning from Army
officials. He said the family has already lost one
relative to the war. Alvarez's sister, Christina,
was married to Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, a buddy from
his platoon who was abducted and decapitated by
al-Qaida in 2006 in Iraq.
Alvarez's awards and decorations include: Army
Commendation Medal; National Defense Service Medal;
Iraqi Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism
Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Combat Infantry
Badge; and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.
Alvarez attended Roscoe High School, where he played
football and was "one of the best punt returners
I've ever seen," said Wes Williams, the high
school's athletic director. He said Alvarez was an
outgoing person who regularly stayed in touch after
he graduated in November 2003.
Alvarez graduated from the Hobbs alternative high
school, in which several school districts, including
Roscoe High School Principal Frank Young remembers
Alvarez as a "good guy" who had some problems, which
led him to the alternative high school, but that he
turned his life around.
Williams said Alvarez was the kind of person people
would meet and like immediately.
"I always looked forward to having him come by
because he was such a very magnetic personality," he
said. "... He always had such a great heart."
The two kept in touch by e-mail, and Alvarez enjoyed
keeping up with the Plowboys football team. The two
visited in person between the soldier's tours of
duty to Iraq.
"He was proud to serve," Williams said.
Alvarez called him just before he left on his latest
tour to Iraq. Williams said his spirits were high,
and he talked of becoming a military recruiter.
Williams was notified by a relative of his death
"That news hurt pretty bad," he said, adding, "I was
sure proud of that kid. He had really done well in
Alvarez turned his life around and was proud to
serve in Army
Written by Kimberly Gray
THE SWEETWATER REPORTER
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Less than a month after hearing of the death of
Roscoe High School graduate, Staff Sgt. Gary W.
Jeffries while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq,
news came that this community was hit with
another loss in Iraq. Sgt. Conrad Alvarez, age
22, was one of three soldiers killed last week
in Baghdad after their vehicle was hit by a
Alvarez attended Sweetwater schools during some
of his elementary years, according to assistant
superintendent Terry Pittman, who also remembers
coaching him on a Little League team. However,
he attended Roscoe High School and eventually
graduated from HOBBS High School, our area
alternative high school.
Roscoe High School’s athletic director and head
football coach, Wes Williams, remembers Alvarez
well not only for his athleticism, but also for
his infectious personality. “He was definitely a
leader-type person,” Williams said.
Alvarez played defensive back, receiver and
returned punts for the Plowboys and also played
basketball. He attended Roscoe High School for
most of his high school years.
During his senior year, he had to transfer to
HOBBS where he completed his high school work
and graduated in May of 2004. Alvarez kept in
touch with Williams after graduation through
phone calls and emails, and Williams could tell
he had matured and turned his life around.
“He was proud to serve and proud of his
accomplishments,” Williams pointed out. Alvarez
earned several awards and decorations while
serving in the army.
The last time Williams heard from him was right
before his latest deployment to Iraq. During the
deployment prior, Williams said Alvarez was able
to come home for a short time only for the
funeral of his sister's husband, who was also
killed in Iraq. According to reports, his
brother-in-law and platoon buddy, Pfc. Kristian
Menchaca, was abducted and decapitated at the
hands of al-Qaida in 2006.
Alvarez himself leaves behind a wife and two
Williams said he always looked forward to
hearing from Alvarez and remembers him as a
positive person. “He never forgot where he came
from,” Williams pointed out.
HOBBS principal Dennis Moseley quickly
recognized Alvarez as “a man on a mission” when
he came to HOBBS. Moseley said he was determined
to earn his high school diploma and to turn his
life around once he enrolled in the alternative
He also remembered him as a good athlete and a
very strong-willed individual. “He was never
wishy-washy and was always honest in his
dealings with me,” Moseley said.
Moseley said that after Alvarez graduated, he
later called him and told Moseley that he
appreciated him being tough on him and
apologized for any disrespect he had shown to
Moseley, his staff and the teachers while he was
there. He called him a few times after that just
to check in and say 'hello.'
Moseley said he considers Alvarez a great
example of their mission at HOBBS to help young
people overcome obstacles and to make something
of themselves despite those obstacles.
“He was no better or worse than any of the other
students we have had,” Moseley explained, “but
he was able to overcome a lot, and I have the
greatest respect for him.”
Moseley said that it was ironic that out of the
50 or so students who graduated that year,
Alvarez was chosen to hold the American flag
during the graduation ceremony. “We knew he
would do it right and carry it with honor,”
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at
Myers & Smith Chapel in Big Spring. Burial with
full military honors will be at Mt. Olive
Memorial Park. Vigil services will be at 7 p.m.
Wednesday at Myers & Smith Chapel.