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May-05-2010 13:39printcomments

2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez (In Memorial)

A tribute to the first black female West Point grad killed in Iraq.

2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez
2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez

(LOS ANGELES) - 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez, age 23, deployed to Iraq in December as a Medical Service Corps officer. The young officer was killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near her Humvee during combat operations in Al Kifl, near Najaf.

Emily was the first female graduate of West Point to die in the Iraq War, and according to Wikipedia, the first West Point graduate of the "Class of 9/11" to die in combat, and the first female African-American officer to die in combat.

Born in Heidelberg, West Germany of African American and Hispanic parents in a U.S. military family, Emily is a graduate of Oxon Hill High School, in Maryland, where she was wing commander of Junior ROTC.

As a high school student, working with the District's Peace Baptist Church, Emily Perez helped begin an HIV-AIDS ministry after family members contracted the virus.

In July 2001, after graduation from high school, she entered the United States Military Academy at West Point.

According to Wikipedia, "There she was an exemplary student and talented track athlete. Following graduation from West Point, she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army."

Her decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star , Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Combat Action Badge. She posthumously received the NCAA Award of Valor in 2008.


2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez (In Memorial)

Saddened when in the local paper of parents Daniel & Vicki I read,
About the death of their 23-year old daughter 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez,
Father and grandfather proudly served their country I remember that,
She proved a very tough act to follow, this spunky little Army brat.

At that time she was small in stature but big in heart,
No matter what the role, Emily more than played her part,
Armed with the nickname of Kobe for always being sure,
Or whatever the task was her shots were straight and pure.

Active with Peace Baptist Church residing at Fort Washington,
A family member afflicted with HIV and her crusade had begun,
In Prince George County she helped others start a HIV-AIDS Ministry,
Superwoman was determined to help combat this deadly disease.

Assistant Principal N. Laney said, “this wasn’t some average Joe,”
As her high school track coach, Nathaniel certainly should know,
Alexandria’s Red Cross called her focused while always ready to go,
The peer education program said she was never late & very dependable.

An Oxon Hill High School wing commander in the Junior ROTC,
Serving her country with the Army in any capacity is what she longed to be,
At West Point, choir, track, first minority command, cream of the crop,
Intelligent as Emily was she still couldn’t spell the words quit or stop.

As the platoon leader Perez was patrolling Iraq in a military Humvee,
A bomb exploded under her truck from cowardly insurgents called an IED,
A sweetheart decked out in battle fatigues that only aimed to please,
God called you home to Heaven in the name of Jesus, our loving Emily.

LaVena Lynn Johnson, James Sabow and Emily Perez, serving their country,
First two were murdered in uniform, the only one dying in battle? 2nd Lt. J.T.,
Decorated Colonel shotgun blast to the head with a M-16 for the young PFC,
A trio of American patriots filled with life so how come only 1 dies honorably?

by Luke Easter

Luke Easter is a poet who writes about things that are very close to the heart of Another former U.S. Marine, Luke heals the world with an approach that reaches people on a different level, one known for centuries, yet too often forgotten in the one we live in.

We live in a world of social & economic injustice. The main reason for founding America in the first place was to relieve the oppression of the King of England. Patrick Henry said it best, “give me liberty or give me death.” And yet, all too often death seems to be the only way out. Why is there such a high suicide rate especially among teens, in the land of the free & the home of the brave? What makes headlines? Good news? Ha! More depressing stories than anything else. I feel poetry takes an edge off the hurt of bad news while still delivering it but in a, “glitzy” sort of way. Giving a different perspective. Kind of like slap in the face as opposed to a knife in the back. At least with the slap you’ll live to see another day and you will know whom it’s from. I wasn’t here for the beginning of the world but at 59, I just might be here for the end.

Even though it’s still a knife, rhyme poetry helps to dull the blade. And that’s my job. You can write to Luke Easter at:

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Liz McAleavey September 12, 2017 9:04 pm (Pacific time)

What a heartbreak to lose such an accomplished young woman who had so much to live for and offer our country. God called her home to His heavenly kingdom, this I am certain. God bless all her loved ones with some sort of peace and comfort and many fond memories of her. Thank you 2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez for your service and RIP

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