Pardo's entire squad wiped out by bomb
Porterville soldier died along with five others
When a bomb went off Sunday underneath the Army’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, known as MRAP, it killed all six soldiers in it, including Pfc. Alejandro Jose Pardo of Porterville, four other men and a woman, all from the same unit, the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion, stationed out of Fort Bliss, Texas.
Porterville continues to mourn its latest casualty in the War on Terror. Pfc. Pardo and his fellow soldiers were killed about 8 p.m. Sunday Afghanistan time. They died when an improvised explosive device (IED) estimated to be more than 200 pounds of explosive, went off under their armored vehicle. He is the sixth local man to die in Iraq or Afghanistan in the War on Terror.
Services are still pending for the soldier. His body arrived back in the United States on Thursday, but no date for services has been set. Myers Funeral Service and Crematory is handling the arrangements.
Pfc. Pardo is survived by his mother, Kate, and an older brother, Anthony.
Also on Thursday, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff.
“On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Pfc. Alejandro J. Pardo, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.”
The city of Porterville and Tulare County have also both lowered the flags to half-staff and they will remained lowered until the funeral.
“We are saddened by the loss of six 978th Military Police Company Soldiers in Eastern Afghanistan earlier this week. They were killed in a blast from an improvised explosive device, said Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss in a statement released Thursday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, and fellow soldiers,” he added.
In addition to PFC Pardo, others to have given their life for their country were Staff Sgt. Ricardo Seija, Spc. Erica P. Alecksen, Spc. Clarence Williams III, Pfc. Trevor B. Adkins, and Pfc. Cameron J. Stambaugh.
In the press release from Fort Bliss, it said Pfc. Pardo, 21, was a Military Policeman (MOS 31B) who entered the Army from Oakland in July 2009, just after he had graduated from Granite Hills High School. His friends said he joined the military to take advantage of GI benefits and go to culinary school.
Pfc. Pardo’s previous assignments included Camp Walker, Korea, Yongsan, Korea, and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. His military education includes the Combat Life Savers Course.
The base said his awards and decorations include the National Treaty Organization Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star.
A memorial ceremony at Fort Bliss in honor of the fallen soldiers will be coordinated and announced at a later date.
Soldiers from the 978th MP Company were deployed to Southwest Asia in February 2012 to advise and mentor Host Nation police and protect coalition forces through security and mobility support operations.
A person with the public affairs office at Fort Bliss said losing six soldiers at once is hard on the whole base. He said it has not been since the start of the Iraqi war ten years ago that so many from Fort Bliss were lost all at once. In addition, five other soldiers from Fort Bliss died in combat the week before.
He said no one survived the bomb blast in Wardak province, Afghanistan, which the Taliban has taken responsibility for placing in the roadway.
He explained the MRAP was specifically designed to withstand an IED, but the amount of explosives was too much in this incident.
According to the Defense Department website, MRAPs are designed to be both safe and effective for soldiers conducting patrols, convoy security and missions throughout Iraq. The vehicles have raised, v-shaped underbellies, that deflect the force of improvised explosive devices and other blasts from below better than other vehicles in use.
The public affairs spokesperson said typically a company like the one Pfc. Pardo served in has approximately 100 members. There are more than 27,000 soldiers stationed out of Fort Bliss.