SSG Christian E. Bueno-Galdos
Hometown: Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Age: 25 years old
Died: May 11, 2009 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany
Birth: Aug. 16, 1983, Peru
Death: May 11, 2009, Baghdad, Iraq
Staff Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, of Paterson, N.J. was born in Arequipa, Peru and was raised in Paterson, he emigrated from Mollendo, Peru, when he was about 7 years old. Christian attended Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, and intended to study medicine. Instead he signed up for the U.S. Army Reserves in February 2002, as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, earning his Military Occupational Specialty of 74D (Chemical Operations Specialist). He entered active duty in January 2004 to Fort Drum, New York. He was currently assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany, deployed in November of 2008. He died May 11 in Camp Liberty, Baghdad, of wounds suffered in a non-combat related incident. He was one of 5 killed during shooting rampage by an Army soldier at a stress-counseling center in Baghdad. Christian always had a big smile on his face, joking and laughing. He often asked family and friends to send him coloring books and paper so he could give them to the children in Iraq. He proudly became a United states citizen in 2005. His awards include: Army Commendation Medal (Two Oak Leave Cluster), Army Good Conduct medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. He was awarded a posthumous bronze star and a promotion to staff sergeant. He is survived by brothers Carlos Enrique and Carlos Eduardo; sister Maritza; his mother, Euginia; his father, Carlos; and his wife, Greisyn Bueno.
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
New Jersey, USA
PATERSON, N.J. — On Mother’s Day, Eugenia Gardos made a tabletop shrine to her recently deceased mother — surrounding her photograph with silk roses, a small white rosary cross, two votive candles and a prayer card of Senor de los Milagros, the patron saint of Peru.
The next day, May 11, she added her son’s picture to the shrine for the dead.
Sgt. Christian Bueno-Gardos, 25, was killed at an Iraq clinic Monday, among five soldiers allegedly gunned down by a distraught comrade.
Eugenia Gardos sat in her living room in Paterson on May 13, surrounded by weeping family members as she struggled to make sense of the fact that her youngest child would not be coming home.
“The first time he left for Iraq, when they would read the lists of the dead on the news, we used to hold our breath, praying he wasn’t on it,” she said in Spanish. “I don’t understand how he could have died this way. I just don’t understand it.”
Bueno was on his second tour in Iraq. He had joined the Army out of high school and was most recently based in Germany. He was married with no children.
He had emigrated with his family from Mollendo, Peru, as a child and had been a U.S. citizen since high school. His mother, two older brothers and older sister recalled how he used to hand out candy to children in Iraq the same way he always did in Paterson — never making a trip to the corner bodega without a group of neighborhood children tailing behind, knowing he would buy them candy or a soda.
Paterson is one of the largest Peruvian immigrant communities in the United States, estimated at about 42,000 Peruvians, and has its own Peruvian consulate in a city of about 145,000 people.
Bueno’s father, Carlos Bueno, said the family arrived 20 years ago at the height of the Peruvian migration to Paterson, drawn by plentiful work in factories like the one he has worked in for decades, making wire hangers.
Bueno said the news of his son’s death has hit the family hard, both here and in Peru.
About 10:30 p.m. May 11, Army officials showed up at the door of the place Christian shared with his wife a few blocks away.
“We were all here at home,” Carlos Bueno said. “I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard screaming downstairs. I ran downstairs and everyone had thrown themselves to the floor, thrashing around, screaming.”
Bueno said he does not feel bitterness toward the man accused in the shootings, whom he described as “mentally ill.”
“We want people to know we’re proud of our son’s Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that,” he said. “But not to die in this manner.”
His wife, Eugenia Gardos, began weeping at his side.
“I don’t know what to think,” she said. “I’m only waiting for him to come home. I see my son as a hero. If he hadn’t died in Iraq, he would have gone very far.”
Christian Bueno’s body was scheduled to be flown back to the United States on May 13.