U.S ARMY PHOTO
Sgt. Daniel Lee Galvan, of Moore, Okla., died Aug. 12, 2004, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
His son killed in Iraq, dad watches kin enlist
Three cousins join up after Daniel Galvan dies in a copter crash
The war on terrorism has already cost retired Army Master Sgt. Blas Galvan one son.
Now Galvan, 58, is amazed by the actions of his two nieces and a nephew.
They were so motivated by the ultimate sacrifice of their cousin, Daniel Galvan, that they enlisted. Sgt. Daniel Galvan was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan while serving as a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with the 25th Infantry Division.
Two of his cousins -- siblings Pfc. Jaime and Pfc. Natalie Galvan -- are now serving in Iraq. They are stationed 30 minutes apart, at separate bases assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division.
Pfc. Class Nancy Galvan, their older sister, is a soldier assigned to Alpha Company, 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, at Schofield Barracks. That unit had been slated to deploy to Iraq next November as one of the Army's newest Stryker combat brigades, but its future is uncertain because of a lawsuit filed by environmentalists and Hawaiian activists groups.
Blas Galvan, in a telephone interview from his home in Moore, Okla., said losing a son in Iraq and having two close relatives there now with the possibility that a third may be ordered to serve there "hits me both ways. I see the problems going on where there are young soldiers dying everyday. Yet I can't help being proud of these kids.
"They are my youngest brother's three youngest children.
"I can't tell you how proud we are of these three young soldiers.
"It is one thing to enlist in the Army when there is no conflict, but to enlist during a conflict and even after having just lost a cousin leaves me amazed."
Jaime Galvan joined the six Army six months after his cousin's death. His sisters followed several months later.
"When Jaime and Natalie were slated for deployment, their mother, Nora, was given the option of deciding which one of them would stay back and not deploy," Blas Galvan said.
"She told them she could not pick one child over the other, that it would be up to Natalie and Jaime to decide and they decided that they would both deploy.
"Jaime and Natalie were deployed Oct. 2 to Iraq with the 1st Cav."
Jaime, 21, is assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Brigade Support Battalion, and Natalie Galvan, 22, is with Charlie Company, 615th Aviation Support Battalion.
Blas, who served for 24 years in the Army, said the three were inspired by his son's "commitment to the Army and what he felt he could do for the country."
But Blas, a Vietnam War veteran, also still feels the pain from his 30-year-old son's death on Aug. 12, 2004.
"It's like it just happened yesterday," said Blas Galvan. "The pain is so strong."