2002-01-16 / Front Page

Bacterial infection claims life of soldier in Germany Manalapan native Carlos Vasquez earned Army promotions, awards

Staff Writer
By mark rosman

Bacterial infection claims
life of soldier in Germany
Manalapan native
Carlos Vasquez earned
Army promotions, awards

MANALAPAN — A township couple is mourning the death of their son, a five-year Army veteran who died on Christmas Eve while stationed in Germany.

Staff Sgt. Carlos Jose "C.J." Vasquez, 24, the son of Enid and Edwin Pinto, died after being taken to a hospital late on the night of Dec. 23. He died at about 12:30 a.m. Dec. 24, according to Enid Pinto.

Pinto said she was visiting her son and his wife, Sylvia, in Germany to help the couple celebrate the birth of a son, Javier, who was born on Dec. 20.

Pinto recalled her son as a person who was "100 percent military. He loved being in the service. Everything he did revolved around the military."

Vasquez was a graduate of the Milford Brook School and the Pine Brook School, both Manalapan. He played football and baseball in township youth leagues. He graduated from the Jackson Adult High School, Jackson.

Pinto said doctors concluded that Vasquez died from epiglotitis hemorrhagic pneumonia due to bacterial infection. The type of bacteria that caused the death and the manner in which Vasquez came in contact with the bacteria remain unknown. She said additional tests are being run in an effort to get those answers.

Pinto gave the following account of her son’s final hours. She said that on Dec. 23 he participated in regular activities, including taking care of his newborn son. At about 4:30 p.m., she said, he complained of a sore throat.

By 10:30 p.m. he was telling family members that he could not breathe. He was taken to a hospital by 11 p.m. where he was attended to by doctors, but died at 12:30 a.m. Dec. 24, according to Pinto.

Dr. Sadeq A. Razvi, an ear, nose and throat specialist with offices in Freehold Township, explained that epiglotitis is an infection of the epiglottis, a structure at the top of the windpipe. Bacteria such as airborne bacteria can cause epiglotitis, and the disease can be fast moving and fatal if not treated, Razvi explained. A sore throat and trouble breathing due to swelling of the epiglottis could be symptoms of epiglotitis, he said. Razvi said he sees about six cases of epiglotitis a year.

Hemorrhagic pneumonia is a separate diagnosis that refers to an infection of the lungs that could involve bleeding into the lung tissue, the doctor said.

Vasquez enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 19 and attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Train-ing at Fort Sill, Ok., in February 1996. Following his initial training, he reported to A Battery, 13th Field Artillery on Fort Stewart, Georgia. He served as a launcher driver from June 1996 to November 1997.

Vasquez was next assigned to A Battery 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery at Camp Stanley, Korea, until November 1998. There he served as an ammunition specialist and battalion commander’s driver.

Following his assignment in Korea, Vasquez reported to Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served from December 1998 to November 2000. He served as a gunner for both MLRS and the experimental HIMARS weapon systems.

He was assigned to C Battery, 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery (Germany) in January 2001. He has served as an ammunition section chief and launcher section chief, responsible for delivering rocket and missile fires in support of 1st Armored Division. His other duties in C Battery included master driver, master fitness trainer and equal opportunity liaison.

His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (3 OLC), Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal, NCO Professional Ribbon (2), the Airborne Badge, Driver’s Badge for Wheeled Vehicle and a Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge.

He was a member of the USAREUR Sergeant Morales Club.

Survivors include his wife, Sylvia R. Vasquez; son, Javier J. Vasquez; his parents, Enid and Edwin Pinto, of Manalapan; a sister, Danielle Pinto, of Manalapan; his wife’s parents, Pearl and retired Master Sgt. Isidoro Morin Jr., of Hinesville, Ga.,; brother-in-law, Sr. Airman Mario Morin, of Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; and numerous first cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Stephen Catholic Church, Hinesville, with the Rev. Jim Mayo officiating. Interment was in the Hinesville City Cemetery with full military honors. Soldiers served as pallbearers.

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