SPC Lizbeth Robles
|Born||April 4, 1973|
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
|Died||March 1, 2005 (aged 31)|
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Unit||68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Area Support Group|
|Battles/wars||Operation Iraqi Freedom|
SPC Lizbeth Robles (April 4, 1973 – March 1, 2005) was the first Puerto Rican female soldier to die in combat when she perished in the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Robles was born into a close knit working-class family in the small town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. In 1978, her parents moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where she received her primary education. The family returned to Vega Baja, in 1983, where her father was a church pastor and Robles the leader of the church's youth group. She was an accomplished athlete who was well liked by those who knew her. After graduating from high school led the life of a normal fun loving girl of her age and attended the American University of Manatí. After one year at the university, she was unable to pay the tuition and transferred to the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. There she was able to receive financial aid and complete her degree.
Robles was dissatisfied with the jobs available to her before being hired by Bristol Myers Squibb, in the town of Barceloneta. The events that occurred on and after September 11, 2001, changed her life forever. Robles, like so many others, joined the Armed Forces of the United States. She joined the U.S. Army and received her basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, where she was sent to Fort Hood and assigned to the 46th Chemical Company. Later, she was sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was assigned to the 659th Maintenance Co. Robles was sent to South Korea, where she was assigned to the 4th Chem Co. at Camp Casey. She also served in Uzbekistan before being assigned to Fort Carson in Colorado.
Robles, who enjoyed driving tankers and trucks, was then assigned to the 360th Transportation Company, 68th Corps Support Battalion. There she lived with her husband Stokey Smith. She volunteered to be part of a new group with the 43rd Area Support Group, one that rides in convoys and secures the dangerous roadways so that the Fort Carson's trucks in Iraq can deliver fuel.
She received her deployment orders, but before she left for Iraq Robles went to Puerto Rico where she spent the Thanksgiving of 2004 with her friends and family. After that last Thanksgiving with her family, she went to Iraq where she reported to her company.
On March 1, 2005, SPC Lizbeth Robles and Sgt. Julio Negron were riding in a Humvee by the town of Bayji, when they had an accident and the vehicle flipped over. They were rushed to the 228th Command Support Hospital in Tikrit where both of them later died of the injuries sustained from the accident.
Lizbeth Robles' remains arrived in Puerto Rico on March 6, 2005. She was buried with full military honors in the Puerto Rico National Cemetery located in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Her name along with the others who have perished in Afghanistan and Iraq, was engraved in "El Monumento de la Recordación" (Monument of Remembrance), dedicated to Puerto Rico's fallen soldiers and situated in front of the Capitol Building in San Juan, Puerto Rico and unveiled by Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth McClintock and PR National Guard Adjutant General Col. David Carrión Baralt on Memorial Day, 2007.
Awards and decorations
Among SPC Lizbeth Robles' decorations and medals were the following:
|Purple Heart||National Defense Service Medal||Iraq Campaign Medal with one service star|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Medal||Army Service Ribbon||Army Overseas Service Ribbon|
- List of Puerto Ricans
- List of Puerto Rican military personnel
- Puerto Rican women in the military
- History of women in Puerto Rico