Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R. Barreras, a decorated career Army soldier from Tucson, died Tuesday of wounds suffered in combat in Afghanistan.
Barreras was shot a week earlier in Herat province when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire. He died at San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas, the Defense Department announced Thursday in a news release.
He was the senior enlisted soldier for the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso. He was deployed to Afghanistan in December.
Barreras, 49, was born in New Mexico and grew up in Tucson. He graduated from Sunnyside High School, according to a news release from Fort Bliss.
He enlisted in the Army in 1988 after serving five years in the Marine Corps.
Barreras was an Army Ranger for 22 years, and served in virtually every enlisted duty and leadership position, including squad leader, platoon sergeant, first sergeant and sergeant major.
During his career, he served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and participated in the invasion of Panama and a peacekeeping operation in Haiti, as well as other special missions.
He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart during his career, among many other awards.
“Command Sergeant Major Barreras was my friend and battle buddy,” Lt. Col. Edward Brady said in the news release. Brady is the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment commanding officer. “This man would do absolutely anything and everything to ensure his soldiers came home safely.”
Barreras is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
Relatives and friends gathered Thursday at his parents’ south-side home, but no family members were available for comment. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
He is the 55th service member with ties to Southern Arizona to die in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.