The Story of Elíseo C. Félix, Jr.
The Story of Elíseo C. Félix, Jr.
Eliseo C. Félix was born February 19,1971 to Eliseo and Hortencia Félix in Phoenix, Arizona. He was raised in Avondale along with his two sisters, Cynthia and Christina. “Cheyito” was the name everyone knew him by. He attended the Avondale School District and did very well academically. Eliseo played on the local baseball team and was an altar server at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. As a teenager, he was active in the church youth group. He also worked at a grocery store to save money to restore his first car.
Eliseo was very much loved by his family and friends. It was obvious that he loved life by the way he always smiled and could make anyone laugh. His presence was much enjoyed by everyone around him. He loved his family very much and was over protective of his mother and two sisters.
Eliseo graduated from Agua Fria High School in the summer of 1989. He believed in education, and was determined to be something great in life. He did not want to put the burden of education expenses, however, onto his mother. He then made the important decision to join the United States Marine Corps. His mother was upset and felt there had to be an alternative. Since she was a single mother, Eliseo insisted that this was a great opportunity because they could pay for his education under the GI Bill.
He passed the admission test with excellence and his mother finally accepted his decision, deciding all she could do was support him. That fall, he was on his way to Camp Pendleton where he endured intense physical and emotional training. After three long months, the family went to California for his graduation to find that the young boy was now a man. Everyone was proud of him. He trained in Maryland temporarily and then was stationed in Twenty-Nine Palms, California.
In the summer of 1990, chaos in the Middle East broke out and there was word of war. Eliseo received the news that he was to go there immediately. Before leaving, he proposed to the love of his life, Monica. Eliseo was then deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm in August 1990. The young couple planned to marry upon his return.
His mother tried to keep him from going since he was her only son. Once again, Eliseo insisted he must go. He was a proud Marine; he explained to her that he was trained to do this mission and that this is what he signed up for. He assured her he also wanted to come back “with lots of medals.” His family constantly kept in contact with him through letters, pictures, audiocassettes and an occasional phone call. He loved receiving “goody packages” filled with homemade cookies and his favorite snacks. His letters were cheerful, funny, and high-spirited. He took great pride and honor in being a Marine and made sure to always sign USMC on his letters.
Eliseo continued to pray and kept his faith strong. On February 3rd, 1991, his mother received the devastating news that Eliseo had been killed by friendly fire on February 2nd. His unit was in a convoy that night, moving towards the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian border. They had just completed an Iraqi raid and were on their way to a new position. Unfortunately, they were mistaken for an enemy convoy, and were attacked by allied aircraft.
The community pulled together and helped the Felix family through this tragedy. Being from the small town of Avondale, the community was devastated by the news. Letters and gifts from all over the state and country were mailed to his mother from people expressing their deepest sympathy. No matter how many years go by, Eliseo has never been forgotten. Whether it is a phone call to his mother from an old friend, a street being named after him, or the naming of “Felix Field” in Twenty-nine Palms, he has remained in the hearts of everyone in Avondale. Eliseo went above and beyond in his duties as a Marine, earning the following medals:
- Purple Heart
- Bronze Star
- Medal of Good Conduct
- National Defense Service
- Saudi Arabian for the Liberation of Kuwait
- Southwest Asia Service
In an official school dedication ceremony on November 8, 2005, Pioneer Elementary School in the Avondale School District #44 was renamed Eliseo C. Félix School.