KIA November 24, 2004
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Camp Howze, Korea
SPC Sergio Diaz Varela was killed November 24, 2004 when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his dismounted patrol in Ramadi, Iraq. He had been in Iraq only a few months on his first deployment when he was killed. He is survived by his father, Sergio Diaz Sr., his mother, Guadalupe Varela, his sister, Mely, and brother, Jonathan.
Neighbor, Maria Leticia Garibay, said Sergio was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, immigrating to the United States with his father, Sergio Diaz, and his mother, Maria Varela, about 1991. The family moved into the mobile home park in Lomita, California but Sergio and his mother returned to Guadalajara a few years later. Sergio returned to live with his father when he was a junior high school student.
“He was a really good guy,” said 13-year-old Fabian Garibay, one of many residents of a mobile home park in Lomita who mourned the loss of their neighbor. “He played basketball at Narbonne High School, and he used to take us out to play basketball with him. He was nice to us.” Sergio’s other main interest was his Gray Ford Mustang which he constantly tinkered with. Fabian Garibay stated, “His mother was still in Mexico, and he wanted to bring her here and get her a house.” After graduating high school, Sergio enlisted in the Army in 2001 so he could save up enough money and do just that.
SPC Varela was last on leave in Lomita about a year before his passing, wearing his uniform as he visited old friends. Sergio was a proud son of Mexican parents, who became an American and chose to fight for his new home country. SPC Varela was buried in Guadalajara, Mexico with full military honors.
SPC Sergio Varela was 21 years old from Lomita, California.
Original portrait was presented December 7, 2015 to his family and friends at a special memorial event hosted by Caddy for a Cure Golf Tournament in Parkland, FL.