It may have been 12 years since our Fallen Alumni memorial was installed on campus, but U.S. Army corporal Armando Diaz Ramos, killed in service during the Vietnam era, received a hero’s recognition on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2015
In 1971, Armando Ramos Diaz (’69) was training in Germany prior to being shipped out to Southeast Asia. He and a fellow soldier were accidentally run over by a tank less than a month before he was to marry his high school sweetheart, Helen “Chunkie” Hernandez (’70).
For some reason, he was left off the original Fallen Alumni memorial, possibly because Department of Defense records indicated Ramos wasn’t initially reported as killed in action, or specifically in Vietnam.
In September, close family friend and retired USMC warrant officer Solomon Saenz brought the issue to the Alumni Association, which made plans add Ramos’s name and honor him in a special ceremony.
Mark Heddy of Honor Life worked on the 2003 monument; he gladly came to the campus to engrave Ramos’s name. There happened to be one spot left in the space dedicated to casualties of the Vietnam era. Ramos’s name fit perfectly with his fellow fallen classmates.
“After high school, he was a ranger at Felicita Park. He loved the environment and wanted to make sure kids were safe playing in the outdoors,” said Saenz during the ceremony, offered in both English and Spanish. “He was always a helpful, loving, respectful, humorous young man.”
“When he got the draft letter, he was honored to be asked to serve and protect his country,” Saenz added.
Over 50 family members, friends, alumni, and current students joined the unveiling of the monument’s 20th name and to honor Ramos as a hometown boy.
Ramos’s father, Carlos, along with Hernandez, laid flowers beneath his name on the monument, to the cheers and tears from his numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins in attendance.