Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Fallen Comrade in Arms, Capt. Robert Yllescas

Our Fallen Comrade in Arms, Capt. Robert Yllescas
Story by Sgt. Charles Brice
Posted on 12.08.2008 at 02:00AM

By Sgt. Charles Brice3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

“Tip of the Spear” is an area well known to Bravo Troop “Blackfoot”, 6th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment in the Kamdesh District of the Nuristan province. The troops of 6-4 CAV have been in the area since 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, took over the area of operation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom IX.

“Capt. Robert Jose Yllescas watched over the Soldiers and the locals of Keating District,” Lt. Col. James Markert commander of 6-4 CAV, Task Force Raider, said. “He cared for those who were in need of help and security. Bringing what is so far apart and putting them closer together.”

During his time in service, Yllescas served under 1st Armored Division as both tank platoon leader and executive officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom I 2003 and returned and served again as a Military Transition Team Detachment commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom IV 2006.

“Yllescas was an extraordinary person to be around,” Markert said. “He brought that ‘lead from the front’ mentality into the work he was doing.”

After serving two deployments with 1st Armored Division, Yllescas was assigned to 6-4 CAV. He took command of Blackfoot Troop, who is now in support of Operation Enduring Freedom ending his career, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his unit during a foot patrol in the Kamdesh Valley. He later passed in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, leaving behind a wife, Dena Yllescas and two little girls, Julia and Eva, from Osceola, Neb.

“Capt. Yllescas distinguished himself as the commander of Blackfoot Troop; putting his Soldiers first is how he works,” Markert said. “He proved to be a good solid man and a loving husband and father and a strong, courageous leader.”

Blackfoot Troop was chosen to serve in an area that was notorious for enemy attacks. Every Soldier knew the risk it would take in order to complete their missions daily. Yllescas pushed the belief that Keating can someday become a wonderful place where all can meet in peace.

“Capt. Yllescas immediately garnered the respect of his Troops,” 1st Lt. Joseph T. Mazzochi Blackfoot Troop, 6-4 CAV, TF Raider, said. “He was more of a visionary than a leader, because we are sitting here in his honor and respecting his wishes as our mentor and friend.”

“When Blackfoot Troop arrived at Combat Outpost Keating, they had very little to work with in bridging the gap between them and the locals,” 1st Lt. Ronald Briley Marine Embedded Training Team 7-3, said. “Yllescas brought together the Soldiers of Black Troop to build a building and dedicate it to the area, so we can all come together as a symbol of unity.”

“The building dedicated to the people of the Keating District will not just serve the purpose that we are here for today, but will be put to use amongst the relationship we will gain over the time here,” Briley said. “This was Capt. Yllescas’ vision for us all, to step forward and bring the people together.

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