Sacrifice of Two Soldiers Is Honored at Arlington

A bugler plays taps during the graveside service for Army 1st Sgt. Carlos N. Saenz at Arlington National Cemetery.
A bugler plays taps during the graveside service for Army 1st Sgt. Carlos N. Saenz at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photos By James A. Parcell -- The Washington Post)
By Arianne Aryanpur
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 18, 2006

One was a father and husband, the other a college student just shy of graduation.

They never met, but yesterday they were honored under the same cloudless sky as heroes who died fighting for their country.

Army 1st Sgt. Carlos N. Saenz of Las Vegas and Army Staff Sgt. David M. Veverka of Jamestown, Pa., were the 230th and 231st people killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Saenz, 46, was one of three soldiers killed May 5 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near their Humvee. Also killed were Spec. Teodoro Torres, 29, of Las Vegas and Sgt. Nathan J. Vacho, 29, of Janesville, Wis.

Saenz was born in Mexico and moved with his family to Nevada in 1970. He attended Basic High School in Henderson, Nev., where he was a guard on the football team and a member of the Marine Corps ROTC.

After graduation, Saenz joined Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C. He met his wife, Nanette, in 1982 while visiting friends at Fort Meade, where she was stationed.

Years later, they served together in Operation Desert Storm as military police officers. After returning, they married in Nevada.

Saenz is also survived by a son, Juan, 14, his father, Jose Tarin, and his mother, Joaquina Chorens.

Saenz received numerous awards, including the Good Conduct Medal and the Nevada State Commendation Medal. "Everyone who knew Carlos knew he was proud to be in the military," his wife said. "He really loved what he was doing."

His last assignment with the Army Reserve's 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Abilene, Tex., took him to Iraq last year. He was four days from leaving Iraq.

"He never questioned any of the politics," his wife said. "It was about the soldiers he was serving with."

Several of those soldiers -- dressed in blue and green uniforms -- paid homage to the sergeant yesterday.

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