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Visitation for Fort Hood soldier planned Friday

By by jennifer preyss
Sept. 30, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.


A friend and fellow soldier of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Baldemar Gonzales is requesting the community's presence at Gonzales' visitation service at 4 p.m. Friday in front of Grace Funeral Home.

Gonzales, 39, was found dead at his home on Fort Hood's Army base Saturday.

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Zachary Rummings served 10 years with Gonzales and was with him during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

"He was a good friend, and I've known him for a long time," Rummings said. "I just want him and his family to have the support he deserves."

Rummings arranged for the Patriot Guard Riders of South Texas, a group of motorcyclists who attend funerals of U.S. Armed Servicemen and women, to stand in front of the funeral home with American flags and line the streets with their motorcycles.

Gonzales was a career soldier, joining the Army in 1990 and serving abroad in two missions - Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was a decorated soldier, earning a Bronze Star, a Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, an Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, among others.

His death was one of four apparent suicides that occurred last weekend on base, according to a CNN report released Wednesday.

Rummings invites the community to help honor his longtime friend and colleague. Members of the Gonzales family will arrive at 4:30 p.m. at Grace Funeral Home, 2401 Houston Highway.

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