United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce
On His Way to Afghanistan
Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce.
Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce.

Today, while I was involved in my “normal and routine” life I was consumed with the thoughts of all the young men and women I have written about in this article and where they are right now: Army Staff Sergeant Rudy Alcantar now serving in Kosovo; Army PFC Juanita Altamirano in Afghanistan; Air Force Senior Airman Michael Chavez in Italy; USN IT3 Phillip Diaz (my son) deploying for the second time in May for the Mediterranean; Army Sergeant Kevin Edwards soon to be on his second deployment to Iraq; Army Specialist Michael Edwards soon to deploy to Honduras; Army Staff Sergeant Gilbert Zavala on his third deployment, twice to Iraq and now to Afghanistan. While I was doing my “normal and routine” life, and you yours, these young men and women were serving our Country so we could enjoy the freedoms we all now have. All of them so young and all of them seeing so much more than any of us can possibly imagine.
I believe the reason that those thoughts were with me was because of a phone conversation I had with 20 year old United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce as I was preparing this article. Lance Corporal Alvarado-Ponce was about to leave his family, in about four hours, to return to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms located near 29 Palms, California for preparations to leave for his second tour to the Middle East.
Lance Corporal Alvarado-Ponce served in Iraq from January 28, 2007 to August 24, 2007 with the 2nd Battalion 7th Marines Weapons Company (2-7 Weapons Company) near Fallujah, Iraq. It was on his first tour to Iraq that he was wounded by shrapnel from a 2,000 pound “suicide vehicle borne Improvised Explosive Device” while he manned a .50 caliber machine gun on a Humvee as a “Turret Gunner”. On Friday, April 4th Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce deployed to Afghanistan.
United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce is a 2005 graduate of Fillmore High School where he participated in football and track. He also attended San Cayetano and Sespe Elementary Schools and Fillmore Middle School before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps on September 12, 2005. Ray is the son of Murillo Alvarado of Texas and Isabelle Diaz of Santa Paula. He is the stepson of Fred Ponce and Yvonne Sandoval of Fillmore and Sam Diaz of Santa Paula. His siblings include; Romie 29, Freddie 24, Joseph 18, Niko Diaz 5, step-siblings Milo Diaz 21, Tashina Diaz 17, Susie Sandoval 24, Veronica Sandoval 17 and Antelmo Sandoval 15. Lance Corporal Alvarado-Ponce’s Maternal Grandmother Terry Marquez lives in Fillmore and his Paternal Grandparents Raymond and Alma Ponce live in Piru.
Lance Corporal Alvarado-Ponce has earned; a Purple Heart Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Medal; National Defense Ribbon; Iraqi Campaign Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. As a “Turret Gunner” on a Humvee he is constantly exposed to danger as his unit patrols within the combat area.
I hope that all of us, as we are involved in our “normal and routine” lives think of each of these young men and women from our community and appreciate the sacrifices they and their families are making for us. I know all of us here at home wish Lance Corporal Ray Alvarado-Ponce safe travel and look forward to his return home.