May 26 2016
Speech on Senate Floor is Fifth in Series Paying Tribute to Nebraska Heroes
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Senator Fischer’s floor speech on Marine Corporal Adrian Robles of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
WASHINGTON – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) spoke on the Senate floor as part of her initiative to honor Nebraskans who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout this year and beyond, Senator Fischer will deliver remarks as a memorial to each of these heroes.
Her first speech of this initiative took place in January, when she told the story of Sergeant Josh Ford, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. In February, she honored Sergeant Jeff Hansen of Cairo, Nebraska, who lost his life in a 2006 Humvee accident in Iraq. In March, she paid tribute to Lieutenant Jacob Fritz of Verdon, Nebraska who was killed in 2007 following a raid by enemy combatants in Karbala, Iraq. Last month, Senator Fischer paid tribute to Master Sergeant Linda Tarango-Griess of Sutton Nebraska, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Samarra, Iraq in 2004.
Today, Senator Fischer honored the life of Corporal Adrian Robles of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. A Marine stationed in Afghanistan in 2008, Corporal Robles was killed in Helmand Province after an Improvised Explosive Device struck his vehicle.
Below is the full transcript of today’s speech featuring Corporal Adrian Robles of Scottsbluff, Nebraska:
Mr. President, I rise today to continue my tribute to Nebraska’s heroes and the current generation of men and women who lost their lives defending our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Each of these Nebraskans has a special story to tell.
Today, I will share the story on the life of Marine Corporal Adrian Robles of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Adrian was known throughout Scottsbluff for his big smile.
His older sister, Beatriz, remembers it this way: “As soon as he smiled, even if you were mad at him, you would stop and have to smile.”
Behind that big smile though was a tough young man.
More than anything, Adrian wanted to be a Marine.
This longing to serve his country was a point of pride and tradition in Adrian’s family.
His grandfather, Pedro Torres, served as a fighter pilot in World War II.
Pedro’s stories of service and adventure inspired Adrian’s quest to become a Marine, and their bond was a source of joy throughout the family.
As Adrian’s father, Cesar recalls: “he loved his grandpa so much. He was a hero to him.”
When he was sixteen, Adrian approached his parents and told them he wanted to be a Marine.
He did not want to wait.
He even prepared a waiver for them to sign, which would have allowed Adrian to join the Corps (core) when he turned seventeen.
While they admired the passion in their young son, Adrian’s parents stood firm.
They wanted Adrian to focus on completing his high school education.
Deterred but not discouraged, Adrian decided to join the high school soccer team.
Soccer became an outlet for Adrian, not only as an athlete, but as a way to train and get in shape for the Marines.
Adrian graduated from Scottsbluff High School in May of 2005. As expected, he immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps.
In the year that followed, Adrian completed basic training and served a full tour in Iraq by the end of 2007.
His determination impressed his fellow Marines.
Gunnery Sergeant Trent Kuhlhoof served with Adrian during a tour in Iraq.
Adrian was the kind of person who naturally bonded with everyone.
As Sergeant Kuhlhoof remembers: “It was hard for me to get mad at him – for anything.”
Adrian had discovered his calling, he worked toward excellence, and he loved being a Marine.
A marksman is the centerpiece of every Marine combat team, and Adrian was a good one.
By the age of 21, he had earned three Good Conduct Medals, a rare feat in the military.
In the spring of 2008, Corporal Adrian Robles deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division.
Their mission was to train local Afghan military forces, but by the fall, this changed to a security mission as tensions rose in the dangerous territory of Helmand Province.
A few months later, on October 22, 2008, Adrian was on patrol when suddenly his vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device.
Corporal Robles was killed instantly.
His unit was scheduled to leave Afghanistan two months later.
On November 2, 2008, hundreds of friends and neighbors from Scottsbluff lined the streets from the church to the cemetery.
An honor guard and horse and carriage team transported the casket to its final resting place.
In a career of three short years, Corporal Robles earned three Good Conduct Medals, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Purple Heart.
Adrian’s mother, Yolanda, recalls that his life’s passion was to serve his country.
She notes that he hated war and knew the dangers, but loved being a Marine.
A brave, disciplined, and joyful young man, Adrian lived a short life, but his imprint is felt by the countless people who knew and loved him.
Perhaps his devotion is summed up best by the tattoo on his left arm, which read: “Your Freedom. My Life. Without Complaint.”
Adrian embodied the strength and determination that Nebraskans are known for all over the world.
He lived passionately and earned his dream of being a United States Marine
Corporal Adrian Robles is a hero and I am honored to tell his story.
Thank you, M. President. I yield.
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