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Emily J.T. Perez.The Emily J. T. Perez Foundation (The Foundation) was established in 2006 by Daniel and Vicki Perez to honor the life and legacy of their daughter, Emily, through a mentoring and scholarship program for girls and young women. 

Emily was born in Heidelberg, Germany to a military family.  While in high school she helped begin an HIV-AIDS ministry.  She accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point where she was a four year letter winner on the track team, served as Cadet Command Sergeant Major, and graduated academically in the top 10% of her class. 

Perez deployed to Iraq in December as a Medical Service Corps officer. She was killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near her Humvee during combat operations in Al Kifl, near Najaf. Aged 23, she was the first female graduate of West Point to die in the Iraq War, the first West Point graduate of the "Class of 9/11" to die in combat, and the first female African-American officer to die in combat. Her decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Combat Action Badge.

She posthumously received the NCAA Award of Valor in 2008.

Emily's unit, the 204th Support Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division, will remember her as a great leader.  They continue to honor her with a street named "Emily's Way" and a medical center called the Emily J.T. Perez Treatment Facility. Her church will remember her as one with genuine love and compassion for people, especially those suffering with HIV/AIDS. Emily's friends will remember her infectious laugh and loyal friendship and for always willing to give help or a hug. The public will remember her in her West Point uniform with her steady eyes and the chevrons taking up her sleeve from shoulder seam to elbow.

Emily Perez as a newly minted Second Lieutenant shortly after receiver her diploma from the United States Military Academy at West Point. 

Second Lieutenant Emily Perez at her forward operating base in Iraq.

Emily in a restful moment during a mid-deployment trip back to the United States.


Emily’s Way”, a street in Iraq renamed by the 204th Support Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division in honor of 2LT Emily Perez.

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