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NEWS | Dec. 28, 2010

Puerto Rico National Guard recognizes a fallen hero

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Luis Orengo Puerto Rico National Guard

COAMO, Puerto Rico - The Puerto Rico National Guard on Monday posthumously promoted one of the Guardmembers killed in a Dec. 20 helicopter crash.

Army Col. Victor J. Torres, deputy adjutant general of the Puerto Rico National Guard, was promoted to brigadier general on Monday here.

Torres, 58, along with three other Citizen-Soldiers and two state prosecutors, died in the Dec. 20 accident during Operation New Dawn in support of the Puerto Rico Justice Department when a UH-72A Lakota helicopter crashed into the sea.

The bodies of Torres, the state prosecutors and two of the other Citizen-Soldiers – Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hector Ramirez and Army Staff Sgt. Jose O. Sostre – were recovered from the sea on Dec. 21.

One Citizen-Soldier, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carlos Acevedo, remains missing.

Torres’ career spanned more than 30 years of faithful and loyal service to the Puerto Rico National Guard, attaining high recognition from superior officers, peers, subordinates and state and federal government officials.

His wake, at the Coamo Convention Center, saw thousands of people from all over the island gather to pay their respect to a man considered by many to be a great teacher, Soldier and public servant.

The governor of Puerto Rico, the Hon. Luis G. Fortuño, the state secretary and the president of the state Senate were among participants.

“The loss of Victor J. Torres is a loss to all Puerto Rico," the governor said. "This hero, and his companions, fell doing their job: to protect the people of this island, and I know that for as long as we have the Puerto Rico National Guard the name of Victor Torres will forever be remembered."

Torres was recognized with the following awards: The Legion of Merit Medal and the Puerto Rico National Guard Merit Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Medal of Valor and Law Enforcement Ribbon.

The awards were presented to Torres’ two surviving sons and one daughter.

"There are no words to describe Victor Torres," said the adjutant general of Puerto Rico, Army Maj. Gen. Antonio J. Vicéns.  "He was a man dedicated to serve his nation and his country who gave his life trying to make a better Puerto Rico and a better nation.


“He was an optimistic man who saw the bright side of life and who knew how to instill in others the desire to become better people for the good of others.


“The Puerto Rico National Guard will sorely miss him and his leadership. Let his example become the beacon that will guide the next generations of Citizen-Soldiers – a beacon that will forever stand strong in our values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

“The Puerto Rico National Guard has lost a great man; the Nation has lost a great man."

The body of Army Brig. Gen. Victor J. Torres was scheduled to be interned at his hometown of Coamo, Puerto Rico, today.



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