Monday, April 14, 2014

Rest In Peace - Jose C. Ibarra, CW4 (retired)

Jose (Joe) Ibarra CW4 (ret) passed away on April 12th, 2014 in El Paso, Texas. Joe was the current Treasurer of Chapter IX, the Isaac Camacho Chapter, of the Special Forces Association. He is survived by five adult children: John, Tony, Julie, Christina and David.

Born 24 July 1928 Joe enlisted in the Army as an Infantryman on 15 Sep 1948 went on to Jump School in 1948 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until November 1956 where he transferred to the 7th Army in Europe then later 10th Special Forces Group at Bad Tolz.

Joe returned to Fort Bragg in 1959 and was assigned to B Company, 77th Special Forces Group where among other duties he was tasked with training SF Reserve Units.

In 1960 Joe Ibarra was assigned to Project White Star in Laos and on occasion flew as a load master for Air America (CIA) air drops. On one of these misionss in 1961 Joe was shot down in Northern Laos near the North Vietnam border and was later rescued.

Ibarra returned to the U.S. in 1962 and was immediately re-deployed to the Panama Canal Zone to establish the 8th Special Forces Group. While assigned to th 8th SFG working for COL Bull Simons, Joe was promoted to Master Sergeant then appointed to Warrant Officer One.

In 1965 Joe left the 8th SFG and was assigned as an interpreter during the difficulties in the Dominican Republic. From July 1967 to July 1968 Warrant Officer Ibarra deployed to Vietnam with the 327th Infantry Battalion, 01sts Airborne Division where he served in many capacities, among them: Support Platoon Leader, Battalion Logistics Officer, Base Defense Commander, and Reaction Force Commander. He was the first Warrant Officer to earn the Combat Infantryman's Badge in the 327th and was also awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat.

Joe returned to the 8th SFG in Panama in 1968 and promoted to CW3 and was involved in supporting operations in Central and South America. He re-deployed to Vietnam in June 1970 for his second combat tour, in Pubai, Vietnam with the 159th Air Assault Support Helicopter Battalion.

In July 1971 Ibarra left Vietnam and was accepted into the Army Bootstrap Program at University of Nebraska where he complted an under graduate degree and was promoted to CW4.

From June 1972 to Jan 1974 Joe served as the Regimental Property Book Officer for the 3rd Armored Cavarly Regiment. Reassiend to the 7th Army in Europe Joe was diverted to Fort Benning having been selected to assist with the activated of the 1st Ranger Battalion. He was one of the original Officers of 1st Bn, 75th Ranger Battalion and completed Ranger school at the age of 40. Joe retired from active duty on 31 November 1978 after more than 30 years of service to this country.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jose Ibarra's Awards and Decorations include: Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster; Purple Heart, ARCOM with 3 OLC; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star; Combat Infantrymans Badge, Master Parachutists Badge, Jungle Expert Badge; Special Forces and Ranger Tabs.

Joe was the sitting Treasurer for Chapter IX, having performed this vital function for as long as anyone can remember.   The picture at left was the last induction of Chapter Officers in December 2013:  From L to R:  Steve Franzoni (VP); Pete Peral (Pres); Bill Snider (Secretary); Joe Ibarra (Treasurer) and John Szilvasy (Chaplain).  Joe was noted for his painfully long, detailed but extremely accurate budget reports. Joe was truly a quiet professional, giving of himself, his time and skills selflessly for decades.   Within 24 hours of posting the notice of Joe's passing on the SF Brothers Facebook site, there were over 80 comments and recognition of Joe.  RIP Joe, you were highly respected, well loved and will be sorely missed.

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