NJ Soldier Dies in Iraq, Comes Home

Omar J. Vazquez

A Hamilton, N.J., native who died in the line of duty in Iraq was brought home on Sunday.

Twenty-five-year-old Omar J. Vazquez was a 1st lieutenant with the United States Army. He and a fellow soldier, Pfc. Antonio G. Stiggins of Rio Rancho, NM, died Friday in Numaniyah, Iraq. Both were assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Hood, Texas. They were the victims of an improvised explosive while serving in Iraq.

According to his sister, Marisel, who spoke to the Newark Star-Ledger, Omar always wanted to serve in the military -- despite the dangers.

"He was such a great man and always wanted to fight for his country," said Marisel. "He was so proud to be in the Army."

On April 7, fellow New Jersey native Sgt. Keith Buzinski died from wounds resulting from an enemy attack in Afghanistan in Logar Province. He was buried on April 19 in Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Burlington County.

Sunday, Vazquez and Stiggins were brought to Dover Air Force Base at 10:10 p.m.

Since the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, Vazquez is the 99th person with ties to New Jersey to die in Iraq, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

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