American Legion Post 1573 in Harriman seeks financial support to build memorial to honor West Point grad

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:26

Harriman — The Mulligan-Eden American Legion Post 1573 of Harriman is seeking public support to honor the late 2nd. Lt. Emily Jazmin Tatum Perez, the first African-American female to serve as brigade command sergeant major — the highest ranking minority woman in West Point’s history. The post plans to build and place a memorial honoring her at its River Road meeting hall. Concurrently, River Road will also be given a secondary name in her honor. After graduating, Perez was assigned to the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division and deployed to Iraq in December 2005 as a medical service corps Officer. She was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee during combat operations in Al Kifl, near Najaf, on Sept. 12, 2006. Her decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Commendation Medal, national Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal. She posthumously received the NCAA Award of Valor in 2008. At West Point, she graduated in the top 10 percent of her class in 2005, known as “The Class of 9/11” because students entered West Point two weeks before the terrorist attacks. She also lettered in track for four years. Perez was the first female graduate of West Point to die in Iraq. She was buried at West Point’s cemetery. Events will also be held to help raise the funds. Donors can assist by making a check payable to Mulligan-Eden Post 1573, P.O. Box 52, Harriman, N.Y., 10926, and writing “2nd Lt. Perez memorial” on the memo line.