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The San Marcos Fire Department pays respects from a bridge over Interstate 35 during Capt. Paul Pena’s funeral procession in 2010. PHOTO by DON ANDERS


The family of Capt. Paul Peña, the City of San Marcos, the San Marcos Academy, and representatives of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point will dedicate a park in honor of the fallen soldier at a special Memorial Weekend ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 26.


The ceremony will be held at the new Capt. Paul Wenceslaus Peña Park, formerly the neighborhood park for the Hills of Hays, 1209 Crystal River Parkway.

A graduate of the San Marcos Academy in 2000 and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Military in 2004, Capt. Peña was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on January 19, 2010. Following services at the SMA, a funeral mass was held in San Antonio with burial at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on January 28, 2010.

The San Marcos City Council voted to rename and dedicate the park for Capt. Peña in January 2012.

“The City of San Marcos is honored to commemorate the sacrifices of such a hero by naming a park in his memory,” said Mayor Daniel Guerrero. “He gave his life so that we may live in a free world. We must never forget.”

The city has coordinated plans for the May 26 ceremony with Peña’s mother, Cecilia Peña, a resident of San Marcos, family members, and the San Marcos Academy. The public is invited to attend.

The dedication will include remarks by Capt. Andy De Santiago and Christian Fierro, his colleagues from West Point, the Peña family, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the SMA Color Guard, Boy Scout Troop 112, the Rev. Stuart Juleen from St. Bridget Catholic Church-San Antonio, and the Rev. Jill Sullins from the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ-San Marcos.

Paul Peña was born on July 8, 1982 in San Antonio and grew up in San Marcos. He attended San Marcos CISD at De Zavala and Bowie Elementary Schools and Lamar Middle School before enrolling at the San Marcos Academy for high school.

Excelling as a student at the SMA, in ROTC and as an Eagle Scout, he was named the “best all around student” and “most likely to succeed” by the Honor Society.

He continued his education at West Point, then attended Infantry Officers Basic School, Basic Airborne School and Ranger School at Fort Benning Ga.

Peña then reported to Fort Richardson, Ala. with the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), and later was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC.

He was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He died of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by an improvised explosive device on January 19, 2010 in the Arghandab River Valley in Afghanistan.

Capt Peña won many decorations during his service to the nation, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Valorous Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab.

For more information about the dedication, contact the San Marcos Parks & Recreation Department at 512-393-8400.

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5 thoughts on “City to name park for soldier who died in Afghanistan

  1. This is awesome. Paul was a good friend and a great Officer and it is nice to see this memorial.

  2. I heard there were a few key residents of that neighborhood that really made this happen. Kudos to them for all of their hard work.

  3. Not sure how I overlooked this, but this is a great idea, and definite kudos to those who made it happen.

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