Military News

Army Reserve Center to be named for fallen Warner Robins soldier

WARNER ROBINS -- The U.S. Army Reserve Center here will be named after a local soldier who lost his life in Iraq eight years ago.

The center, which has been open about a year and half, will be named for Army Spc. Daniel E. Gomez, a medic who was killed July 18, 2007. He died along with three other soldiers after their vehicle came under attack.

Gomez was a graduate of Warner Robins High School and was a commander in the Air Force Junior ROTC there.

His father, Juan Gomez, lives in Texas now but is planning to return to Warner Robins for the Aug. 1 naming ceremony. This week, Mayor Randy Toms read a resolution declaring Aug. 1 to be Army Spec. Daniel E. Gomez Day in the city.

“He would be very proud,” Gomez said when asked what his son might think of the building being named after him. “He did a lot for his country and for his buddies. He was a real leader and influenced a lot of people.”

The U.S. Army Reserve Center is located at 101 Snellgrove Drive near Central Georgia Technical College. It is home to 361st Engineer Company, which builds temporary bridges in combat zones.

The ceremony is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon and also will serve as a ribbon cutting and open house for the 40,000-square-foot facility. About 170 part-time reservists are assigned to the unit, with a few who work there full time.

Michael Mascari, an Army Reserve spokesman, said the Reserve has a tradition of naming new centers after fallen troops, particularly local ones. Those serving at the Warner Robins center formed a committee to determine the namesake for the building and settled on Gomez. Some of the troops who are part of the unit went to school with Gomez, Mascari said, and remembered him well.

At some point, a new sign will include Gomez in the building’s name, Mascari said. But at the ceremony a plaque honor Gomez will be placed on the building.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Atkins, who was the J-ROTC instructor at Warner Robins High School, said Gomez stopped by his office for a visit when Gomez was on leave from Iraq. Gomez was killed a short time later.

“Daniel left an impression on me that will last a lifetime,” Atkins said. “He was totally enthusiastic about what he was doing and wanted to serve his country and do it right.”

Atkins also noted that Gomez comes from a patriotic family. His brother is an Army Ranger and his sister serves in the Coast Guard.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.