When Americans plan their vacations, we try to plan for everything. When service members plan for vacations, you can increase that ten-fold. But no one could have planned for the heart-wrenching end to this military family’s trip.
Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Ommy Irizarry and his wife Rebecca were celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary. The couple and their three children Oceana, Ommy Jr. and Ava were vacationing in Venice, Florida from SFC. Irizarry’s duty station at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
On Sunday, July 27th, the Iraq War Veteran and nine year old Oceana were walking on Caspersen Beach, collecting shells and shark teeth, when the two were struck by a small plane that had lost power and was forced to crash land. Witnesses reported that the plane made no sound as it neared the beach, and that SFC. Irizarry and Oceana most likely never heard the approaching plane. Unfortunately, they were unable to get out of the way.
SFC. Irizarry, 36, died at the scene. Oceana died two days later at All Children’s Hospital. She is remembered as a quick-witted, artistic child who had many friends, and loved her family.
SFC. Irizarry is a native of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. He joined the Army in 2002 and deployed twice to Iraq. He is remembered as an exemplary soldier, mentor, friend, father and husband.
On the morning of the accident, the Irizarry’s ninth wedding anniversary, SFC. Irizarry posted the following message on his Facebook:
“Today, 9 years ago, I tied my life to my beautiful wife, Rebecca Irizarry. Wow, how fast time has passed! They say time flies when you are having fun. It is true. Thank you for being with me through thick and thin. I love you with all my heart, mi Roma. I am very happy and can’t wait to see what the next 100 have in store for us. I love you, Becci.”
Whenever tragedy strikes a military family, it resonates throughout the military community. Our deepest condolences and sympathies go out to the Irizarry family. Friends of the family have started The Irizarry Family Memorial Fund. Please follow the link to donate to the family *or* say a few encouraging words in their time of need.
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Military Connection: Tragedy Hits Military Family: By Debbie Gregory