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Family, friends honor lives of fallen Soldiers

Northwest Guardian

Published: 12:54PM September 27th, 2012
Family, friends honor lives of fallen Soldiers

Sergeant Louis R. Torres

Specialist Michael R. Demarsico’s family set aside five hours the day before his hometown funeral to offer friends, community members and strangers the chance to say goodbye.

It turns out that wasn’t long enough. It would take eight hours for hundreds of mourners to pay their respects to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment Soldier who died Aug. 16 in Afghanistan, a New York-based television news channel reported last month.

Community support also poured out for Sgt. Louis Torres, who died Aug. 22 from wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device. His hometown’s city manager encouraged residents to line the 26-mile route along Torres’s honor escort motorcade, The Morning Journal of Northeast Ohio reported.

Demarsico, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and Torres, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, were remembered at a combined memorial service Sept. 19 at the JBLM Lewis North Chapel.

Described by 2-3 Inf. Battalion Commander Lt. Col. John Highfill as “the foundation of the platoon,” Torres was dedicated to the Army, his country and his fellow Soldiers.

“His friends speak of his willingness to help others, and above all, his approachable professionalism — a rare quality for even the most seasoned leader,” Highfill said. “It is those few who were closest to him in the intimate cubicle of battle that knew his professionalism, his desire to be a better Soldier and his friendship.”

Private First Class James Alexander remembered Torres for his story-telling ability and lively personality. But it was his motivating character that repeatedly encouraged Alexander during tough times.

“He would demand the most of himself, but personally inspired me to achieve the absolute most I could as a Soldier and more so as a friend,” Alexander said.

Demarsico served as a counter-IED specialist who could always be counted on by his platoon to uncover the safest route for its movements, said 2nd Lt. Charles Wallace, his platoon leader. He relished being at the front of the formation and taking the responsibility of leading troops out of harm’s way.

“He was a very high-caliber Soldier who only had to be told once what he needed to do, and that’s if he needed to be told at all,” Wallace said.

Demarsico’s platoon sergeant, Staff Sgt. Mabon Briola, called Demarsico his “mine-hound,” because of his keen ability to locate hidden explosives. At one point during a firefight, Briola watched Demarsico fall to his hands and knees searching for IEDs to continue clearing a safe path for the platoon members despite incoming enemy shots.

“He wanted to lead the platoon ensuring their safety, even if it meant compromising his,” Briola said.

In Memoriam

Sergeant Louis R. Torres

Sergeant Louis R. Torres was born July 5, 1989, in Lorain, Ohio.

He joined the Army June 26, 2008, after graduating from Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Oberlin, Ohio. While at JVS he played football and took classes in law enforcement and security. Torres completed basic combat training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga.

Torres’s mother, Armanda Ellis, described him as a history buff who enjoyed watching the History Channel and encouraged her to join Facebook so Torres could wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, Ellis told The Plain Dealer metro newspaper.

This was Torres’s second deployment.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Torres is also survived by his father, Albert Torres, two brothers, Alberto Torres and Andre Ellis, and one sister, Ayana Morrison.

Specialist Michael R. Demarsico

Specialist Michael R. Demarsico was born on Dec. 22, 1991, in North Adams, Mass.

He played football in youth leagues, middle school and high school, and enjoyed working out.

Demarsico joined the Army in February 2011 as an infantryman, completing basic combat training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga., and arrived at JBLM in July 2011.

Former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John Kerry attended Demarsico’s hometown funeral, which drew a crowd of more than 800 people, The Berkshire Eagle reported. Demarsico was North Adams’ first casualty of war since an Army sergeant was killed in Vietnam in 1968.

This was Demarsico’s first deployment.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal.

Demarsico is survived by his mother and father, Lisa and Michael Demarsico.