In Memoriam

SFC Ofren ‘AC’ Arrechaga

Amelia, OH

Home Award Program Recipient

Army Sergeant First Class Ofren “AC” Arrechaga was born December 22, 1982, in Havana, Cuba, to Marta and Roberto Alvarez, Sr. At the age of 14, Ofren and his family came to the United States. He graduated from high school in 2000 and joined the Army in February 2001. Ofren was an Infantryman assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Ofren’s life saw many blessings. In December of 2002, he became the proud father of a precious little girl, Tristian.

Ofren met his wife Seana Minikhiem, in 2006 shortly after his second combat tour to Iraq. They married September 1, 2007, just 21 days before Ofren deployed to Iraq for the third time. While home on R&R he and Seana welcomed their new son Alston Ofren Arrechaga, into the world March 28, 2008. Later that year on November 4 in Bagdad, Iraq, Ofren finally became a citizen of the country he had proudly served for seven years.

Ofren left for his final deployment to Afghanistan April 29, 2010. In November of that year, Ofren came home on R&R. Seana describes those 15 days as “some of the best of her life”. It passed all too quickly and soon Ofren was on a plane back to Afghanistan with a sad smile and a “see you later, Babe.” Shortly after returning to Afghanistan Ofren received orders to Fort Benning, Georgia, meaning he would have a few non-deployable years. Seana was beyond happy that Ofren would be safe and sound at home for a while. Finally, they would be able to have another child without worrying that he would have to miss their newest addition’s first year of life.

March 28, 2011, was Alston’s third birthday. Ofren’s last words to his son were “Happy Birthday Buddy, I love you.” The next day, just one month before Ofren was to return to the US, two Soldiers in dress uniform arrived at the Arrechaga’s home in Clarksville, Tennessee, to deliver the worst news imaginable. “The Secretary of the Army regrets to inform you…” Ofren had been killed in action by small arms fire during the 101st’s largest mission since Vietnam; Strong Eagle III.

Seana went from planning a homecoming to planning a funeral. She recalled telling Ofren during the deployment that she would never bury him in a cemetery he had never seen, and thus chose to have him interred at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West, where one of his fallen brothers-in-arms also lies. She then considered his other requests, “make sure you get a vehicle that’s more reliable” and “buy a house so you never have to worry about having a roof over your head.”

While they had discussed the importance of financial security for the children’s futures, buying a house now seemed a distant dream. This is where Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) has played a crucial role. Thanks to this organization, not only are Tristian and Alston’s futures secure, but so is Seana’s. By giving them this beautiful home, HFOT has fulfilled Ofren’s final wishes for his family. Even more, Seana can finally see the future, something she felt she had lost the moment she learned of her husband’s death. Living in their new home, Seana attended the University of Cincinnati and Alston started school.

Over the span of his ten-year Army career, Ofren’s awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Valorous Unit Award; Meritorious Unit Citation; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; NATO Medal; Ranger Tab; Expert Infantryman Badge; Parachutist Badge; Air Assault Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge.