Date of Birth: July 8, 1982
Date of Death: January 19, 2010 - View or Post a Eulogy
The Department of Defense has announced the death of Capt. Paul Peña, 27, of San Marcos, Texas who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He died Jan. 19 in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
He was a member of the Junior ROTC at the San Marcos Baptist Academy where he was named "best all around student" by his school's National Honor Society chapter, and was voted most likely to succeed by his classmates. He created a disc golf course at the school for his Eagle Scout project. Peña graduated from the San Marcos Baptist Academy in 2000 and entered the U.S. Military Academy as a member of the class of 2004. Following graduation, he attended Infantry Officers Basic Course, Basic Airborne School and Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. Upon completion of his training, Pena reported to Fort Richardson, Alaska, with the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne).
Peña died along with Tech Sgt. Adam Ginett, 29, of North Carolina. The pair were on a foot patrol with Afghan soldiers in the Arghandab district, just north of Kandahar city, when they were killed by a roadside bomb. Five other soldiers were wounded. He served a 14-month deployment to Iraq as a platoon leader while with the 509th in 2006 - 2007 and was deployed to Afghanistan last year. He had previously been awarded the Bronze Star for heroic or meritorious achievement or service during his previous deployments.
Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard called Pena a "recognized leader" among his peers. He further stated "Pena was a quiet professional, he always had a smile on his face and was admired by his soldiers".
Pena's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf clusters, the Valorous Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutists Badge and the Ranger Tab.