Civilian Military Operations Center renamed in memory of Rob Soltes ’90
Soldiers from Task Force Freedom gathered at the Civilian Military Operations Center (CMOC) at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Courage, Mosul, Iraq, on the anniversary of the death of Major Charles R. Soltes, Jr., to rededicate the CMOC in his memory.
|Major Anderson speaks at the dedication ceremony of the "Major Charles 'Rob' Soltes Civilian Military Operations Center" in Iraq|
Soltes, a 1990 Norwich graduate, was killed on Oct. 13, 2004, when his convoy was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve special operations unit based in Upland, Ca. An optometrist in civilian life, Major Soltes was serving as a Preventative Medical Officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and helped to start the CMOC on FOB Courage. The CMOC has helped several Iraqi civilians to get medical aid both here and in the United States.
At the rededication ceremony, Major Brian Anderson and Major Darius Gallegos ’90 spoke. Among those in attendance were Norwich alumni Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Downey ’81 and Captain Sook Y. Mizell ’91.
“Rob and I had known each other for many years,” said Gallegos. “He was the type of person that had a contagious smile. After he died, I was deployed to Mosul with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. I went on a routine convoy one day and was at the very same spot were his convoy was hit by the VBIED. Memories of Rob and I at Norwich rushed through my mind as I truly felt the loss of a good friend.”
At the end of the ceremony, Anderson and Gallegos unveiled a plaque dedicated to Soltes that is inset in the CMOC’s outside wall. On it is written, “In memory of Major Rob Soltes, killed in action 13 October 2004. Husband, Father, Soldier.”