March 23, 2003 — Nasiriyah, Iraq
Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, of El Paso, Texas was one of eight soldiers found dead during the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was being held captive.
He was a member of Lynch's unit, the Fort Bliss, Texas-based 507th Maintenance Company, which was ambushed near Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003. The unit was on a supply mission.
Estrella-Soto was a mechanic's son who grew up in a hardscrabble neighborhood east of El Paso, Texas, and knew the value of education. Estrella-Soto enlisted in the Army right after his high school graduation, though his father didn't want him to go.
"I knew it was a difficult life," Ruben Estrella Sr. said.
Born across the Texas border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Estrella-Soto became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. several years ago.