Jul 26th 1991 – Feb 08th 2020
SFC Antonio Rey “ROD” Rodriguez was born on July 26, 1991 in Las Cruces, NM. He was the first-born son of Guadalupe Rodriguez, first grandson of Reymond and Celia Rodriguez, and first nephew of Jaime Rodriguez, Maria Elena Baca, and Anita Rodriguez. Growing up as a child, Antonio enjoyed playing in the pecan tree orchards preserved by his grandparents. He spent countless hours helping his grandparents during irrigation and harvesting seasons and would occasionally swim in the irrigation canals during the summer. He graduated from Mayfield High School in May 2009.
Known by his teammates as “ROD,” began his career at Fort Benning, GA in 2009. He attended both One Station Unit Training (OSUT) to become an Infantryman (11B) and U.S. Army Airborne School. After successful completion of both OSUT and Airborne School, SFC Rodriguez attended the Regimental Assessment and Selection Program (RASP). RASP is a selection program that requires successful completion to become a member of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment falling under United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). Upon successful completion of assessment and selection, SFC Rodriguez was assigned to Delta Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment headquartered in Fort Benning, GA. SFC Rodriguez deployed multiple times as an assaulter on the strike force before successfully completing US Army Ranger School. After earning the coveted Ranger Tab, he was selected to be a Fire Team Leader in Delta Company. SFC Rodriguez was later assigned to the Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters, and RSTB. In 2017, SFC Rodriguez transitioned to the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion (RMIB) where he attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to become a Cryptologic Linguist (35P). After leaving the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion (RMIB), SFC Rodriguez was assigned to 3rd Battalion 7th Special Forces Group’s (ODA-7313) Military Intelligence Detachment.
On February 8th, 2020 SFC Antonio Rey “ROD” Rodriguez was killed in action while conducting combat operations in the Sherzad District of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. SFC Rodriguez deployed 8 times with the 75th Ranger
Regiment and twice with 7th Special Forces Group. SFC Rodriguez’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Good Conduct Medal (second award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (two Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. SFC Rodriguez was posthumously promoted to SFC and awarded the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal, and Purple Heart.
SFC Rodriguez is survived by his wife Ronaleen Omega-Rodriguez of Southern Pines, NC; mother Guadalupe Rodriguez-Jaramillo, brother Christopher James Rodriguez-Jaramillo, and step-father Javier D. Jaramillo of Raleigh, NC, grandparents Reymond and Celia Rodriguez of Las Cruces, NM; uncle Jaime Rodriguez of Las Cruces, NM; aunt Maria Elena Baca of Canjilon, NM; and Anita Rodriguez of Las Cruces, NM. Antonio is also survived by cousins Ruben Rodriguez, Diego Rodriguez, Natalia Baca, and Angelina Baca.
When not focused on work, Antonio loved to spend time with his wife Ronaleen and friends, lift weights, endure CrossFit workouts, play with the dogs, cook, and competitive shooting. Antonio will always be missed, but his legacy will forever live on.
As a tribute to her boy, Guadalupe Rodriguez-Jaramillo established the SFC Antonio Rey “ROD” Rodriguez Memorial Endowed Scholarship at New Mexico State University. In honor of her son, Guadalupe has vowed to the Department of Military Science to help award scholarships each year to eligible students enrolled in the Army/Air Force ROTC programs pursuing careers in the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition, Guadalupe Rodriguez-Jaramillo has also established the SFC Antonio Rey “ROD” Rodriguez Foundation. The foundation will represent what Antonio stood for: “Remember to Live.” Read more about the scholarship HERE.