Fort Hood soldiers honor fallen comrade at gravesite in Mission

Call it the ultimate sign of respect.

Fort Hood soldiers take a knee at the graveside of a fallen comrade who's buried in Mission.

It's a ceremonial reunion of sorts.

Some call it a chance to pay their final respect to Staff Sergeant Estevan Altamirano.

The Edcouch native died in a non-combat related incident in Iraq last September.

Robert Bee was his platoon Sergeant.

"I see a very caring and enthusiastic sergeant who took care of his soldiers.... who truly understood what is was to be a leader," he said.

The group from the 1st " 5th Cavalry Regiment is in the Rio Grande Valley this weekend to conduct remembrance ceremonies with Altamirano's family.

His wife Pamela calls it bittersweet.

"I'm happy that they all came down," she said. "But I'm also sad at the same time because he's not here with them."

Altamirano served three tours overseas.

Henry Adams has known him for the last 11 years.

Touching his tombstone simply broke his heart.

"That he's not hear no more... He's really gone... And I miss him," the sergeant said.

Altamirano is the first soldier to lose his life in the platoon, according to Sergeant First Class Bee.

Altamirano's mother-in-law, Odie Gutierrez, wants them to know their support proves they'll always be together.

"This shows how much Steven was loved," she said. "We miss him terribly... And today we have the support of the soldiers... We're so grateful... It's been like family you know."

It TMs a family tied to one man, a soldier who will be forever loved.

A flag raising ceremony will take place on Saturday at 7:00pm in front of the McAllen home of his wife Pamela Altamirano.

Her residence is at 116 West Hawk Avenue.

The troops from Fort Hood are expected to wear a new army uniform in honor of SSgt. Altamirano.

The public is invited to attend the event.

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