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*Emily Perez was born on this date in 1983. She was a Black soldier and West Point graduate.
Born in Heidelberg, West Germany, Emily Jazmin Tatum Perez was the daughter of African American and Hispanic-American parents. She graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Maryland, where she was wing commander of Junior ROTC. While working with the Peace Baptist Church, Perez helped begin an HIV-AIDS ministry.
After high school graduation, Perez attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. There she excelled in the classroom and track and field. Following graduation, she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. Perez was deployed to Iraq as a Medical Service Corps officer.
She was killed during combat operations in Kifl, near Najaf, on September 12, 2006. Aged 23, her decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Combat Action Badge. She was the 64th female member of the U.S. military to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and the 40th West Point graduate killed since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Perez was buried at the West Point Cemetery.