• Lluvia Loeza's mother, father, and older brother, Esteban, gather with 1-41 Infantry Battalion Soldiers and friends after the graduation ceremony. Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr., was killed in action during the unit's previous deployment to Afghanistan. The Soldiers stood in for Loeza, since he could not be present.  (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Lluvia Loeza's mother, father, and older brother, Esteban, gather with 1-41 Infantry Battalion Soldiers and friends after the graduation ceremony. Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr., was killed in action during the unit's previous deployment to Afghanistan...

  • Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment stand at attention during Lluvia Loeza's high school graduation ceremony. Lluvia is the sister of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr. who was killed in combat during the unit's previous deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment stand at attention during Lluvia Loeza's high school graduation ceremony. Lluvia is the sister of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr. who was killed in combat during the unit's previous deployment to...

  • Maj. George Chigi, the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment Executive Officer presents Lluvia Loeza with her high school diploma. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Maj. George Chigi, the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment Executive Officer presents Lluvia Loeza with her high school diploma. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

  • Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment salute as Lluvia Loeza, the youngest sister of one of their fallen brother in arms, crosses the stage and receives her high school diploma. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment salute as Lluvia Loeza, the youngest sister of one of their fallen brother in arms, crosses the stage and receives her high school diploma. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade...

  • Capt. Skyler Weber and Maj. Christopher Pendwarden salute as Lluvia Loeza, the youngest sister of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr., crosses the stage and receives her high school diploma. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Capt. Skyler Weber and Maj. Christopher Pendwarden salute as Lluvia Loeza, the youngest sister of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr., crosses the stage and receives her high school diploma. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade...

  • Staff Sgt. William Berry, a good friend and comrade of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza Jr., presents Lluvia Loeza with a 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment coin after her graduation ceremony. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Staff Sgt. William Berry, a good friend and comrade of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza Jr., presents Lluvia Loeza with a 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment coin after her graduation ceremony. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade...

  • Lluvia Loeza is flooded with emotions as she receives a Bulldog Brigade coin from the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment Executive Officer, Maj. George Chigi. Lluvia's brother was killed in action during the previous deployment; members of his unit attended her graduation in his absence. (U.S. Army Photo by 3-1 AD Public Affairs Office, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division/Released)

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Lluvia Loeza is flooded with emotions as she receives a Bulldog Brigade coin from the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment Executive Officer, Maj. George Chigi. Lluvia's brother was killed in action during the previous deployment; members of his unit...

  • Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks congratulates Mrs. Loeza on her daughter's accomplishments.

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks congratulates Mrs. Loeza on her daughter's accomplishments.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks congratulates Lluvia Loeza after her high school graduation.

    Fort Bliss Soldiers honor a fallen comrade's promise

    Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks congratulates Lluvia Loeza after her high school graduation.

EL PASO, Texas (June 26, 2014) -- Soldiers dressed in full Army Dress Blues filled the front seats of Mountain View High School graduation ceremony, June 7; a unique sight, even for a city located just outside a military installation.

As Lluvia Loeza's name was called, the Soldiers rose to their feet and each rendered a salute.

Lluvia's brother, Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, Jr., was an Infantry Rifle Squad Leader and Headquarters Platoon Sergeant in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, out of Fort Bliss, Texas. He deployed with the unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, in 2011. Before leaving, he made a promise to his youngest sister, Lluvia, that he would be at her graduation to watch her walk the stage but unfortunately could not keep that promise.

Roberto died of injuries sustained by indirect fire on May 25, 2012, while serving in Logar Province, Afghanistan.

"Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza Jr. was a loving and caring father and family man," recalled Staff Sgt. William Berry a member of Charlie Company and a friend and comrade of Roberto. "His Soldiers held him in very high regard and respected his leadership and presence."

Roberto's brother, Esteban, wanted to surprise their sister. He sent out a message through Facebook to Roberto's old unit asking for volunteers to stand in his place. The call was answered immediately.

Though the majority of the unit is deployed once again to Afghanistan, the Battalion's rear detachment known as Task Force Stalwart West, led by the Battalion Executive Officer Maj. George Chigi, along with Maj. Christopher Penwarden and Sgt. 1st Class Bernie Brooks, organized a group of Soldiers to attend Lluvia's graduation.

More than 30 Soldiers from 1-4 Infantry Battalion attended the graduation. Also in attendance were several Soldiers from the Fort Bliss area that knew Roberto well, including Penwarden and Sgt. 1st Class Jason Yeazel.

Lluvia was completely surprised by the "Straight and Stalwart Battalion" Soldiers who gathered in their Army Service Uniforms. Making the event even more special for her, Chigi was given permission by the school district's superintendent to present Lluvia with her high school diploma.

Lluvia was just as impressive as her older brother; her discipline and drive earned her the distinction of the 4th highest grade point average in her high school. Lluvia's brother is sure to have been proud to know that Lluvia's efforts earned her more than $100,000 in college scholarships.

The entire Loeza family was overwhelmed with emotion. They were happy to see so much support from the Straight and Stalwart Battalion, for their son and for Lluvia. The families of the other graduating students were awestruck by 1-41st Infantry Battalion, as it rendered honors to Lluvia, the family, and Roberto.

"It was a very emotional and uplifting event for us and the family. All and all we fulfilled a fallen Soldier's promise and we did it with pride and honor and represented the 1-41 Infantry Battalion, with nothing but the utmost respect and pleasure doing it for the family," said Brooks, the Charlie Company first sergeant.

As the 1-41st Infantry Battalion Soldiers gathered to say goodbye to the Loeza family, Berry presented Lluvia with a Straight and Stalwart Battalion coin. These coins are traditionally only given by the battalion commander and command sergeant major to Soldiers for extreme excellence in the performance of their duties.

Lluvia was also presented with a Bulldog Brigade coin.

Page last updated Thu June 26th, 2014 at 00:00