Retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Grace, senior aerospace science instructor at Judson, remembered (Christopher) Baltazar, 19, as a quiet, respectful young man who seemed more comfortable in camouflage than a military dress uniform.
Using a compass and map, Baltazar and his JROTC orienteering team from Judson would compete against other schools in timed land-navigation drills at Camp Bullis. They would run virtually the whole time through a rugged course extending at least a mile or two, Grace said.
“He was more into the idea of getting out there and being a hardcore military guy,” he said.
“He was always a real funny, joyful, happy person,” (Will Weber) said. “He was so excited about being a Marine. He believed in honor and serving his country.”
Christopher's mom is in the Army. He came by it honestly.
Most of us are aware of the phenomenon of the military running in families. My ex-husband's father retired from the Air Force. Rob was in the Navy. Both my parents were in the Army at different times; my brother was in the Air Force. (My mom was also an Army wife once upon a time, I guess I followed in that path.)
I can't imagine how his mother feels right now. Well, actually, I can. It's a fear I think is common to every parent out there, to outlive your kids. Ssgt. Beatriz Alberts, his mom, works at Walter Reed. I'm certain she knew exactly what he was risking.
I'm sure she is proud of him.
San Antonio calls itself Military City. I'm sure we're not the only ones. We earn it, though. We send lots of men and women off to serve our country. A willingness to confront evil is writ in the history of this town.
Christopher Baltazar is the third San Antonian killed in Afghanistan in a month. I will leave discussions of that war to better minds than I.
I am tired. I dislike death. I dislike our men who want to make the world a better place dying while it all falls to hell. I'm already at my "give the women & children 72 hours to clear out and bomb the place into a glass parking lot" point. (Oh, but let's make sure the AP stays behind to take pictures of it, OK?) Granted, it might put a small dent in the world's heroin supply, but I think somehow we'll manage.