Madera Soldier Died in Iraq

April 14, 2009 11:59:07 PM PDT
Sergeant Raul Moncada was a decorated soldier ... serving his second tour in Iraq ... when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle Monday.        |   Watch Video Above for More Information on this Story   |

Raul Moncada first served in the Marines for six years before joining the Army. His sister says she was text messaging him just hours before he was fatally injured.

Inside the home where he grew up, a memorial is growing for the fallen soldier. Raul Moncada Senior says he got the first inclination something wasn't right, when Sunday came and went without the usual call from his son who shares his name.

So he worried until the next day when military officials knocked on the family's door.

Raul's younger sister is also in the military. She and her brother served their first tours at the same time but in different units. She was supposed to be deployed again a few days ago. But her mother asked her to request a reprieve since it was too stressful to have two children at war. The military agreed and allowed Alex to stay.

She never thought she'd be comforting her parents, especially after her brother told them, Iraq was much calmer the second time around.

Alex young says her family was initially somewhat comforted that Raul died immediately after the explosive device hit their convoy, but Raul's wife was given conflicting information.

Alex Young said, "His wife she told us that they told her a different story that they got hit and he lost an arm and a leg and he went into shock. He bled to death and went into shock and died in the hospital. Like the first story we got was he died instantly."

Family members say Raul Moncada had just received a care package from them. His special requests, a beer for himself and candy and coloring books to give the Iraqi children.

His childhood friend says he was a genuine man who was passionate about his service to his country.

Childhood Friend Chris Imperatrice said, "You could tell how proud of what he was doing for his family and how proud he was of what he was doing so that was really neat and those are what my lasting impressions are right now."

Raul is survived by a wife and child. He is also expecting another baby in July. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered flags at half staff at the state capitol in honor of Moncada.

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