Professor remembers father who founded MSD

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By Jared Solis

Two years ago, the Memorial Services Detachment laid to rest one of its own.

Roberto Rodriguez Garcia was the first commander of the MSD and also the founder.

His daughter, Isabel Garcia, is a professor of architecture at this college and describes her father as a soldier’s soldier.

“He had a very strong sense of what was right and wrong, and so when the government started cutting back on that particular kind of honor, he didn’t rant and rave about it, he just did something about it,” she said.

She began to cry a bit upon remembering how her father would come and mow her lawn. 

Her neighbor across the street would wave to him, but he did not know about what Garcia did until he later joined the MSD program after attending a funeral service in which the MSD provided the honor guard.

Her neighbor told her that not ever taking the time to meet her father became one of his greatest regrets upon realizing what Garcia helped create.

The small squad room from which the MSD operates is now named after Garcia.

Under that name, veterans still pass by with rifles in hand, Monday through Friday, ready to serve.

They continue to cram into that white van on their own time and money, and they continue to honor their fellow soldiers.

They have performed military burial honors for almost 20,000 soldiers at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery since being activated.

“As long as it’s possible, as long as I’m able, and I’ve been able so far, I’ll keep on going,” Master Sgt. Richard Francis said.

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