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South Side park renamed to honor fallen soldier CSM Barreras
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South Side park renamed to honor fallen soldier CSM Barreras

  • Command Sgt. Major Martin R. Barreras
    U.S. ArmyCommand Sgt. Major Martin R. Barreras

A park near Sunnyside High School will be renamed to honor a fallen graduate. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R. Barreras, who died two weeks ago after being wounded in Afghanistan, will be remembered at the park following a unanimous vote of the Sunnyside Governing Board on Tuesday.

The park, run jointly by the Sunnyside Unified School District and the City of Tucson, will be renamed CSM Martin R. Barreras “Gunny” Park.

A staff sergeant in the Arizona Army National Guard, Marcos Moreno, pushed for officials to rename the park, near South Campbell Avenue and East Drexel Road.

Moreno, who did not know personally know Barreras, told SUSD board members that the the slain soldier was a hero and said they were "brothers in arms."

Barreras should be remembered every day by those using the park, Moreno said, listing the awards and decorations the Marine veteran and Army Ranger received.

Barreras died May 13 at an army hospital in San Antonio, Texas,  the result of wounds suffered when his unit came under fire in Herat Province in Afghanistan. 

Barreras graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1982 and joined the Marines, where he served until he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1988, where he served as a Ranger for 22 years. 

Nicknamed "Gunny" for his time as a Marine, Barreras was known for his leadership and tenacity, said Col. Christopher Vanek, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, said at a funeral service on Saturday.

Vanek spoke of Barreras' role in the 2003 rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, a U.S. Army soldier who was captured during the early days of the Iraq War. 

Barreras, Vanek said, volunteered for the additional duty of retrieving the bodies of nine other Americans and two Iraqis who were buried in a soccer field near the hospital where Lynch was rescued.

"When he walked into a room, he set the tone" said brother Dave Barreras at the service. 

“The last time I saw him, he told me it was going to be his last deployment,” said Dave Barreras during the service. “He was right. He may have been wounded on foreign ground, but he died at home."

“In the end, he was a hero,” he said. “Not because he was in uniform, but because of the man he was.”

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afghanistan, army, martin barreras, susd

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