Sgt. Orlando Morales

______  _______

29 March 2003

Killed in Action Sunday, March 29, 2003

A Company, 2nd Battalion

7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC

Sgt. Orlando Morales leaves behind his wife, Maria from South Florida, and an 18 month old Daughter

Special Forces Condolences Book

Mon Mar 31, 2:58 AM ET 

U.S. Army soldiers and airmen carry the body of 

Sgt. Orlando Morales 

to a C-17 aircraft during a 

Memorial Ceremony 

held at Kandahar Army Base in Kandahar, Afghanistan 

Sgt. Orlando Morales, 33, was born in the Central Puerto Rican town of Orocovis, he was killed an ambush in Helmand, 

Morales had spent much of his childhood in Reading, Pennsylvania, and after high school moved back to Manati on the north coast of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican Gov. Sila Calderon expressed condolences to Morales' widow in a phone call Tuesday, her office said.

The couple, 

Orlando and Maria was 

living with their 

17-month-old daughter, 

Angelina Marie, 

in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 

where he was stationed.

"He'll always be a 

hero to his daughter, 

and she'll always be 

very proud of her father," 

the Morales family said in a 

statement released by the 

U.S. Army Special 

Operations Command

 in Fort Bragg.

Mishel Aguiar-Prada, niece of Morales 

"This tragedy was difficult for his family, but it was even harder for them knowing Morales was on his way home. It was exactly one week to the day of his death that he told his wife of 2 1/2 years he was coming home. 
“It doesn’t seem fair. They weren’t fighting, they were helping. He was inspecting a school.” .

Morales had lived in Reading, Pennsylvania, before joining the Army a few years ago, his wife, Maria, said by telephone from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where Morales was stationed. She said military officials came to the couple's home and notified her of his death on Saturday.

Maria's brother, Charlie Prada, who was with her at the home, said the soldiers' bodies were expected to be returned to the United States later this week, and funeral arrangements hadn't been made.

Maria Morales said the two had a 17-month-old daughter, Angelina Marie Morales.

"He was here for her first year," she said.

Morales moved with his family to Reading in 1975 and attended Tyson Schoener Elementary School, Southwest Middle School and Reading High School, dropping out but earning his General Equivalency Diploma before enlisting, his family said.

"I think he went into the military trying to get his life together and found he had a knack for it," his sister, Nellie Rodriguez of Muhlenberg Township, said Sunday night. "He was a proud soldier and really loved it. He became a Ranger and had been all over the world. I know he spent time in Saudi Arabia and Egypt."

Rodriguez said she last talked to Morales in late October or early November, before he was deployed to Afghanistan.

"He called all of his brothers and sisters to say goodbye," she said. "I remember the last time I saw him was in August last year when we christened his baby."

A family member of 

Staff Sgt. Orlando Morales 

makes a rubbing of his name during a

 memorialization ceremony May 27 at Fort Bragg, N.C. 

The ceremony honored 

U.S. Army Special Operations Command

 Soldiers who were killed in action during the past year. 

Morales' name was added to USASOC Memorial Wall last year, but because his family was unable to attend that ceremony, they were invited to honor him during this year's event. (Photo by Gillian M. Albro, USASOC PAO)

**Information from, The Department of Defense, USASOC used in this Article.

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