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    Louisiana highway dedicated to 7th SFG(A) hero

    Louisiana highway dedicated to 7th SFG(A) hero

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Brian Ragin | Christine M. Vazquez, center, sister of Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez, unveils the...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Brian Ragin 

    7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

    MANSFIELD, La. – A stretch of highway was renamed in honor of Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez with a dedication ceremony at DeSoto Parish Courthouse here, August 6, 2018.

    Emotions were high as tears trickled down the faces of the proud family members of the hometown hero. The sun danced behind the partly clouded, summer afternoon skies of Mansfield, 45 minutes south of Shreveport, La.

    Vazquez, a Special Forces weapons sergeant, was assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), was killed by a roadside bomb in Panjwai province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on November 13, 2013.

    Since early 2002, 7th SFG(A) deployed nonstop in support of OEF, and to date has lost 46 Soldiers, the most out of the entire Special Forces regiment.

    Nearly five years after Vazquez’s passing, the groundwork for the highway name change started with a heartfelt request from Vazquez’s mother, Ms. Teresa Melton, and came to fruition with an intimate ceremony comprised of family, friends, and members from 7th SFG(A).

    Louisiana District 23 Representative Kenny R. Cox, sponsored Act Number 258 to get the highway renamed, helping it move through the house, senate, and ultimately to Gov. John B. Edwards.

    “We are so very humbled that the Department of Transportation chose to honor my hero and son, Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez,” said Teresa Melton, Gold Star mother of Vazquez. “Not a day goes by that we do not think about him, so it comforts our hearts when others remember him in this way.”

    Now Louisiana Highway 175 from the town of Mansfield extends 12 miles to Interstate 49 carries the name “SSG Richard Lee Vazquez Memorial Highway.”

    Distinguished guests at the ceremony included: John H. Mayweather Sr., mayor of Mansfield, Rev. David Permenter, Rep. Kenny R. Cox, Sec. Joey Strickland, La. Department of Veterans Affairs and Richard fuller, and DeSoto Parish Police Juror.

    The dedication ceremony kicked off with remarks from Mayweather.

    “We are glad we could honor him [Vazquez] in this way,” said Mayweather. “We are grateful for all of you present at this ceremony.”

    The ceremony also held a gift presentation to the Vazquez family including the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal and a Congressional Commendation.

    “This act is a small token of our gratitude,” said Lt. Col. Edgar Jimenez, commander of 3rd Battalion, 7th SFG(A). “Families are going to drive through this stretch of highway; some out of curiosity are going to look-up Staff Sgt. Richard Vasquez with their device of choice. When they do that, his memory lives on.”

    Vazquez’s sister, Christine, had the distinct privilege of unveiling the dedication sign.

    “My family and I humbly stand here today, overwhelmingly honored and profoundly proud of our small town of family and friends,” said Christine Vazquez, sister of Staff Sgt. Vazquez.

    “To have our hometown of Mansfield, Louisiana remember our hero by dedicating this highway in his memory shows how much his sacrifice means to all of you as well.”

    For the Vazquez family, the ceremony was a reminder that the residents have not forgotten their hometown hero.

    “With the memorialization of Staff Sgt. Vazquez on the highway in Louisiana, his memory lives on in the Louisiana landscape, just as it lives on with the legacy of 7th Group. Events like this remind us of our mission, and whom we do it for,” said Jimenez.



    Date Taken: 08.06.2018
    Date Posted: 08.07.2018 17:27
    Story ID: 287673
    Location: MANSFIELD, LA, US 

    Web Views: 441
    Downloads: 0