Texas VA Honors Gold Star family of fallen Marine


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HARLINGEN, TEXAS —This week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is commemorating Gold Star Families Remembrance Week, which is designated to honor families affected by the loss of a service member who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Beginning this week (Sept. 23-29) and over the coming months, commemoration plaques to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and the families they left behind are being placed at VA national cemeteries across the country.

In observance of the tremendous sacrifices of these families, VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) recognizes the Gold Star Family of Pfc. Paul Gilbert Alaniz, Jr., form Corpus Christi, Texas.

Velia Alaniz leans forward while holding on to the shadow box with the U.S. flag given to her and her husband after her son Paul Gilbert Alaniz Jr. was killed in action during the Vietnam War. Mrs. Alaniz and her husband Paul Sr. (a World War II Navy Veteran) attended the rededication ceremony of the VA outpatient clinic in Corpus Christi, Texas, held on April 27, 2018.

Velia Alaniz leans forward while holding on to the shadow box with the U.S. flag given to her and her husband after her son Paul Gilbert Alaniz Jr. was killed in action during the Vietnam War. Mrs. Alaniz and her husband Paul Sr. (a World War II Navy Veteran) attended the rededication ceremony of the VA outpatient clinic in Corpus Christi, Texas, held on April 27, 2018. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)

The son of Velia and Paul Alaniz, a World War II Navy Veteran, Paul Jr. enlisted in United States Marine Corps. He was a rifleman assigned to G Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marines Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Their son was deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. He began his tour on May 5, 1968.

A hostile type casualty of the War, he was killed in action by small arms fire in the Quang Tri Province in South Vietnam. He was 20 years of age.

The tragic loss of this young American warrior was felt no greater than his mother, for this Marine died only seven days after arriving in country. That day was Mother’s Day, May 12, 1968.

Alaniz’s name is inscribed in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Panel 58E, Line 29.

On behalf of grate full nation, and the men and women of VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, we thank the family of Pfc. Paul Alaniz Jr., and all the Gold Star Families of our Veteran communities for your loved ones, honorable and faithful service.

The term Gold Star Family references the service flag, first flown by families during World War I. The flag included a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the U.S. armed forces. If that loved one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. The U.S. began observing Gold Star Mother’s Day on the last Sunday of September in 1936.

Gold Star Family parents Gilbert and Velia Alaniz sit and listen to the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi Texas play the Army service song during the rededication ceremony of the VA outpatient clinic in Corpus Christi, Texas, held on April 27, 2018.

Gold Star Family parents Gilbert and Velia Alaniz sit and listen to the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi Texas play the Army service song during the rededication ceremony of the VA outpatient clinic in Corpus Christi, Texas, held on April 27, 2018. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)

Author

Luis Loza Gutierrez

Luis H. Loza Gutierrez joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in October of 2017 and serves as a public affairs specialist for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System.

In addition to winning multiple awards as a writer, photographer, illustrator and graphic artist during his more than 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as a public affairs specialist and photojournalist, L.G. (as he was called by his fellow Airmen) also served as a member for the Air Force Honor Guard at the base-level during his last permanent-duty station in North Dakota.

He volunteered to deploy out of cycle twice in a period of less 18 months, the second of which included a six-month tour as a member of the public affairs team at USF-I Headquarters at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

The now retired non-commissioned officer returned home to the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas in November of 2015, and feels enthusiastic and honored to continue to serve his fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms as a member of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.