Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Expressing Sympathy for the Victims of the Camp Liberty Shootings

Jun 2, 2009
Floor Speech

Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Maryland, the gentlewoman from Oklahoma.

This resolution, H. Res. 471, is a resolution that deserves all of our support. The legislation expresses our sympathies to the five victims and their countless friends and families of the violent acts that took place at Camp Liberty in Iraq in May. Many of us have been there many times.

These are senseless deaths. In a book that just came out 2 months ago, Joshua Cooper Ramo, ``The Age of the Unthinkable,'' wrote, Our old way of war is increasingly useless. It is senseless to aspire to periods of peace on Earth during the lifetime of anyone who reads the book unless we begin to change how, where, and why we do fight.

These deaths took place at a very particular spot at Camp Liberty, and both the gentlewoman and the gentleman who spoke of the names and places where these five soldiers came from are on the Record.

One of these soldiers, one of these brave men, came from the city I have lived in all my life. Army Sergeant Christian Bueno-Galdos was 25 years old. I honor, and we all honor, his sacrifice and his service. It exemplifies the deep sense of commitment that so many immigrants have for America. He was the youngest of four. He was born in Peru, and came here when he was 7 years old. He and his family settled in a gray house in a neighborhood I grew up in--Paterson, New Jersey. It was just across the street from the county road department in south Paterson.

He attended high school at Passaic County Tech. After graduating, he considered studying premed but instead decided to serve his country and joined the U.S. Army Reserves. It was in this service to his Nation that Sergeant Bueno-Galdos became a citizen of the United States of America. He went into the service before he was a citizen. His dedication and love for this country was so great, he voluntarily signed up for a second tour of duty. How many times have we heard this?

Then, on May 11, Sergeant Bueno-Galdos tragically lost his life, and Paterson and New Jersey and the United States lost a fine citizen. His parents first considered laying him to rest in their home country of Peru. But upon reflection of their son's love of America and commitment to this great Nation, Sergeant Bueno-Galdos was laid to rest in New Jersey with full military honors.

So we extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt gratitude to his surviving wife Greisyn, his mother Eugenia, his father Carlos, and his three siblings.

Sergeant Bueno-Galdos was a courageous soldier, a loving husband, a son, a brother, a fine American citizen. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten in Paterson. We have already erected a monument on Memorial Day for him.

But my friends, today something else happened. We promoted from Lieutenant Colonel, Mike Jaffee, who is now a full Colonel in the Air Force. Dr. Jaffee is a neurologist, psychologist. He's a leader in the Department of Defense to respond to traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. Isn't it ironic that these killings took place in a stress area where American soldiers were trying to help those in need?

Twenty percent of those who have fought, who have been on the front lines, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, have posttraumatic stress disorder. Most are misdiagnosed, most are undiagnosed, and the stigma is slowly peeling away. They need our help. Their families need our help.

So not only did we go into a war unprepared, but we did little for those who put their lives on the front line while we, supposedly gray men, decided where they would go and when they would return and how many times they would return to the battlefield. We are fools, to say the least.

We need to think about what's going on. These brave men and women have taken the entire burden while we act as if nothing happens. These senseless deaths will not be forgotten.

I ask all of us to vote for this legislation and remember their families

God bless America. Thank you.