Sgt. Cesar B. Ruiz
USCIS San Antonio Field Office
U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Cesar B. Ruiz was born on November 27, 1982, in Nava, Coahuila, Mexico. He was 7 years old when he immigrated to the United States and settled in the San Antonio area with his family. Sgt. Ruiz participated in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Taft High School, and graduated in 2001. He later enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he served as a combat engineer from 2003 to 2007, including a deployment to Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005.
When his enlistment ended, he returned to San Antonio and started a family with his wife, Kimberly. In 2008, when their son Joshua was 1 month old, Sgt. Ruiz received orders to return to duty. But several weeks before he was required to report for training, he received another letter saying his reactivation was now voluntary. Even though he return to service was optional, Sgt. Ruiz chose to rejoin the Marines, saying he felt a strong sense of duty to his adopted country, the United States of America.
His new unit, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, deployed to Firebase Fiddler’s Green in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. As a platoon sergeant, he led 16 Marines and one Navy corpsman through the daily task of sweeping convoy routes for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
On October 31, 2009, just one month into their deployment, Sgt. Ruiz’s team approached a hut that looked like a possible enemy observation point. After securing the perimeter, Sgt. Ruiz entered first and stepped on a pressure plate, triggering an IED blast that fatally wounded him. He was 26.
Sgt. Ruiz had planned to start the process of applying for U.S. citizenship once he returned from Afghanistan. Instead, his wife pursued that goal on his behalf. “He took pride in protecting his family, the United States and its citizens,” she said. The USCIS San Antonio Field Office was instrumental in processing his application, and USCIS posthumously granted citizenship Sgt. Ruiz on August 17, 2011.
To keep the memory of Sgt. Ruiz alive for his son, two Marine veterans who served with him traveled around the United States to record tributes and memories of others from the unit. They called the 2014 documentary “For Joshua.”
Sgt. Ruiz is buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.