Soldier From Fauquier County Is Killed in Iraq

Spec. Herberth Berrios-Campos is remembered as a quiet, confident man who always kept his word.
Spec. Herberth Berrios-Campos is remembered as a quiet, confident man who always kept his word. (Courtesy Of U.s. Army)
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By Catherine Cheney
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 2, 2009

Army Spec. Herberth Berrios-Campos of Bealeton died last week in Salman Pak, Iraq, of "injuries sustained from a non-combat-related incident," the details of which are under investigation, according to the Defense Department.

Campos, 21, a graduate of Liberty High School in Fauquier County, was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, N.C., and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"Specialist Berrios-Campos was a fine paratrooper and a valued member to his platoon," said Lt. Col. Dave Bair, commander of the 1st Battalion. "We are grateful for his service to our unit and are proud of his service to the nation. His loss will be felt by many."

Capt. Joel Graves, Berrios-Campos's company commander, added that the soldier's "energetic youthfulness and humorous personality will be greatly missed by all that knew him."

Warren Fountain of Fredericksburg, a retired sergeant first class, was Berrios-Campos's JROTC instructor in high school. Fountain said Berrios-Campos would practice with the JROTC even before he became a member.

"He told me that he was going to join the program and be my highest-ranked cadet, and he was a man of his word, because that next term, he joined up and he stayed," said Fountain, who remembered Berrios-Campos as a quiet yet confident person who was involved in soccer and cross-country running. "If you asked him a question, he said he could do it. He never doubted himself. That's one thing about Campos."

Fountain said Berrios-Campos wore his uniform even on days when he did not have to, to "represent the military." A former drill sergeant, Fountain helped the aspiring soldier prepare for Army boot camp and tried to prepare him for the realities of war.

"Kids have got this concept that combat is something 'hooah hooah,' " he said. "They think they're invincible sometimes. I told them: 'Keep your head down. Be careful. It's not a joke being over there.' "

Being a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne means long deployments, something Berrios-Campos was drawn to, Fountain said.

Berrios-Campos is survived by his father, Jose Campos of Centreville, and his mother, Armida Carballo of Manassas. Neither could be reached for comment.

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