Based: Vilseck, Germany
3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 29, 2007
Baghdad (southern part), Iraq
Hometown: Los Angeles
High School: Malibu High (Malibu)
Burial: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Westwood
He was a volunteer gardener at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, where he is now buried.
Patriotism was important to him, and his decision to enlist set him apart from many of his classmates, his sister said.
"It's not a very popular thing to do in the Malibu area," she said.
She and her father say the war that Ayres told them about was drastically different from the war being described by what they call a biased media. Ayres relayed stories of a country where U.S. troops are building schools and Iraqis are receiving improved medical care.
He grew to admire the Iraqis.
Stationed in Mosul during the first of two tours in Iraq, Ayres reported that the streets were growing so safe that he could go out and play with the neighborhood children. His father began sending him cartons of stuffed toys and dolls for the children, along with DVDs and beef jerky for his son. The children nicknamed him "Soldier Bobby."
Ayres' mother, Michelle Ayres of Los Osos, Calif., said he inspired her to join the California Army National Guard. She was sworn in a few weeks after he died and wants to serve in Iraq as a psychiatric nurse.
She wonders if her son enlisted in part because he was a twin: "He was always compared to his twin, and it doesn't matter if you're in different classes, and look totally different. In the Army, Robert was his own person."
After Ayres' death, his sister received an e-mail from Chris Sanders, one of her brother's friends who also is serving in Iraq.
"I did talk to some of the guys who were there when he was hit," Sanders wrote. "When they started taking heavy fire, he pushed his men into the doorway of a house and spun around to return fire, to cover his troops as they moved.
"That's when he was hit. He died protecting the men he led. That's the way any real infantryman can hope to die. To me, that wasn't abnormal for Bob. He put his men's life before his own, all the time."
Do read the whole LA Times article here. And read more about Army Sergeant Robert "Bobby" T. Ayres III in Malibu Surfside News and at Military Times.
Army Sergeant Robert "Bobby" T. Ayres III previously remembered here at Boom3 on Wednesday, September 29, 2010