Thursday, February 03, 2005

Captain Orlando Bonilla

Late yesterday I received an email from a friend of mine currently stationed in Baghdad. The subject line was titled “CPT Orlando Bonilla”, who is a mutual friend of ours and a helicopter pilot deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division.

I had a bad feeling when I saw the subject line, and unfortunately my fears were proven true. My friend was writing to inform me that Orlando had been killed in a helicopter crash on January 29th. The crash is still under investigation, but people close to the situation are confident it was an accident that ocurred when Orlando’s helicopter hit some electrical wires. Orlando and I were not close. It had been years since we last spoke, but events like this really hit home when it's someone you know.

What makes this story even more tragic is the fact that Orlando's wife just lost her father in the Iraq conflict last March. I can not fathom what she must be going through, but was amazed at her response to the situation. Here is a quote from the CNN article:

"I stand behind my daddy and my husband, and I stand behind the job they had to do, and that's my take on it," she said. "I just support them, regardless of who sent them over there and why they sent them over there, no matter whether it's for right or wrong reasons."

No one would have blamed here if she had responded in bitterness or anger, but instead she responded with grace and courage.

I'm sure she will have difficult days ahead, and I ask that you keep her and the rest of Orlando's family in your prayers.

You can read the rest of the article here:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, definitely. As you ask, it is done. Thanks for passing the info along, John. It causes great pause obviously, but we appreciate you letting us know and we will continue to keep you and your family and team in our prayers, as well as Orlando's wife and her loved ones.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dad. i read that and it broke my heart. i will keep his family in my prayers and hope everyone else does the same.


7:59 PM  
Anonymous Chad A. Ortiz, SGT, IANG said...

Mr. John Upperman, it is nearing the end of April '05 and I just learned of this tragedy. You and I both knew Orlando at the University of Texas, however, you may not remember me, Chad.andrew. I have read many articles and messages posted regarding Orlando's post-UT life and Army career. I am proud to learn that he continued to have an impact on so many people as he had on mine. He was a genuine soul....I can't imagine the pain his wife is going through. I recently joined the Illinois Army National Guard and am currently working full-time for the 2-123 Field Artillery Battalion. I have a wife and 3 boys and of course a proud business degree from UT. Since I did not complete ROTC, I enlisted as my prior service rank of Sergeant in December of '04. I am deploying in a few months to join the ranks of my fellow soldiers. My prayers and best wishes go out to you, your family, those who serve, and of course, to the Bonilla and Bacon families. Orlando Bonilla, we will never forget!

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Marta said...

Hello, I just read the message you had on my little brother Orlando. I am his older and only sister. I have two other brothers and a husband who also serve in the military. I am greatly touched to see that others care. Our family is very proud of my brother's achievements and the sacrifice he has made for his country. My mother and sister-in-law are holding on to their faith. Our relationship with our Lord is what keeps us going. Please do keep us in your prayers because some days are harder than others.


11:04 PM  

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