National Guard Veteran Eric Ulysses Ramirez is today’s Veteran of the Day.
Eric Ulysses Ramirez was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in November 1972. His family were farm workers who had emigrated from Mexico; they moved to Florida in 1973. Ramirez attended Mount Dora High School, where he played several sports, including football, baseball and soccer. He graduated in 1991 and later served in the Navy. Afterward, he moved to San Diego and joined the California National Guard. Ramirez intended to use his military experience as preparation for a law enforcement career, and his tour of duty in the National Guard was due to end in 2001; however, after the 9/11 terror attacks, his term of service was extended.
In 2003, while working as a deputy for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Ramirez was recalled to active duty. He deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he served with the National Guard’s 670th Military Police Company.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 12, 2004, while on patrol near Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, Ramirez’s unit came under enemy fire. The attackers used a combination of small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and homemade explosives. Ramirez was killed in the ambush, six weeks before he was scheduled to return home. His family expressed support for his decision to join the military.
Ramirez’s teammates remembered him fondly.
“He always had that smile,” said Master Sgt. Steve Studebaker, who served alongside Ramirez. “He always had that chuckle, just when you needed it the most.”
“He loved his country,” said Ramirez’s father, Felix. “Our whole family is very patriotic. We all love this country.”
Ramirez’s honors include a Purple Heart, a Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation, a National Defense Service Medal, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and a Navy Reserve Sea Service Ribbon.
Ramirez is interred at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. At the time of his death, he was 31 years old.
We honor his service.
To post a tribute this Memorial Day for Eric Ramirez, please visit the Veterans Legacy Memorial at https://www.vlm.cem.va.gov/ERICURAMIREZ/7142CAB.
Carry the Load
In 2022, VA is joining forces with Carry The Load to honor veterans during the “Memorial May” March, a national relay visiting 50 VA national cemeteries to honor our nation’s fallen service members. A link to this webpage is here. The complete list of participating cemeteries can be found here. Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Stephen Hill
Editors: Theresa Lyon, Brooke Wolfenbarger
Researchers: Patrick E. Woods, David Charles Deprez, Raphael Romea
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley
Project Manager: Oasis Diaz