My most memorable moment during deployment occurred on April 8, 2004 while a driver. While patrolling a main service route in Baghdad, our patrol encountered heavy enemy fire, which consisted of small arms fire, improvised explosive devices (IED), and rocket propelled grenades (RPG). During the attack, our vehicle suffered from three flat tires, and we only had 2 spare tires so they requested the assistance of the quick reaction force (QRF) to deliver another tire. On the way to our patrol, the QRF encountered the same heavy enemy fire. SPC Johnathan Kephart, who was a good friend of his, was a gunner in one of the QRF vehicles, was severely wounded when an RPG exploded behind his gunner hatch. On April 9, 2004, which happened to be my birthday, SPC Kephart was pronounced dead from the wounds he had suffered the day before. SPC Kephart was posthumously awarded the Silver Star with Valor for his actions on that day.
Born in San Diego, Ca, Sgt. Christopher J. Cruz joined the Army on August 28, 2002, as a Military Police, and attended Military Police One Station Unit Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.
Sgt. Cruz has served in overseas and stateside assignments including the 230th Military Police Company, Kaiserslautern Germany; and the United States Military Academy Military Police Company, West Point, NY. While serving with the 230th Military Police Company, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. in support of Operation Iraqi i Freedom. In that deployment, he was temporarily attached to the 1st Marine Division and served in Operation Phantom Fury, Fallujah, Iraq.
While serving with the United States Military Academy Military Police Company, he was assigned as a Patrol Supervisor and a member of a Department of the Army selected Honor Guard, which conducted numerous Full Honors Funerals, two man Representative Service Funerals, parades and other military ceremonies in the New York and New Jersey areas. Sgt. Cruz has also worked with the United States Secret Service to provide protection for former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Richard Cheney, while they were guest speakers at the United States Military Academy graduations in 2006 and 2007.
Sgt. Cruz’s formal military training consists of the Warrior Leaders Course, Ft. Drum, NY. His civilian education includes an Associates Degree in Humanities and Social Sciences from St. Thomas Aquinas College. He is currently attending the University of Nevada Las Vegas completing a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. Upon completion of his Bachelors Degree, he hopes to further his education with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and pursue a Masters of Science Degree in Executive Crisis and Emergency Management.
Sgt. Cruz’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi i Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral 2), the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicle clasp and the Combat Action Badge.
Sgt. Cruz is currently assigned as a Section Leader in the Traffic Accident Investigators section with the 313th Military Police Detachment, Las Vegas, NV. In his civilian occupation, he is a Security Firearms Officer and Executive Protection Officer with Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Casino and Encore Las Vegas Resort and Casino.
Sgt. Cruz is currently single with no children. His father is a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy and is currently a Mail Carrier with the United States Postal Service, and his mother is a Lead Infant Caregiver at McCarran Child Development Center.