A little more than a year after the death of Isaac Campoy, casualties in Iraq continue to mount, especially since April when rebel factions began executing more attacks on both foreign military and Iraqi civilians.
According to U.S. Department of Defense figures, as of September 2004, at least 122 Hispanics -- slightly more than 12 percent--had died during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Of those Latino casualties, 39 were not American citizens.The ranks of Hispanic soldiers have risen dramatically since 1996, when a report by the National Council of La Raza, an advocacy group for Hispanics, showed that Latinos ages 18 to 44 made up more than 11 percent of the civilian work force, but comprised less than 7 percent of the military’s active forces. Aggressive recruitment of Latinos began and the Department of Defense issued Hispanic initiatives in the year 2000.Recognizing it needed to be more accessible to Hispanics, the Department of Defense began holding public seminars to let Latinos know about career opportunities. Last year at one such event, the Defense Department partnered with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities for an information summit in Anaheim, California. Charles Abell, principal Undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, told the audience there were 1.4 million active duty service members, more than 130,000 of whom were Hispanic. He added that of the more than 870,000 Ready Reserve members, more than 71,500 were Hispanic.The recruitment effort was gaining momentum.
By 2004, Hispanics made up 9.2 percent of active duty forces and about 10 percent of those soldiers were sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marines, in particular, had vigorously recruited Latinos, resulting in numbers that translated to more than 13 percent of Marine ground troops. Latinos now comprise nearly 14 percent of the total U.S. population.
Campoy and Barrera became U.S. Army casualties Nos. 7 and 8, the first few of more than 1,240 coalition fatalities as of October 21, 2004.Campoy is survived by his brothers, Victor Jr., 24, and Jonathon, 17, and his parents, Victor Manuel and Nellie Campoy.\
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