Fallen Hero’s Wife: His Legacy Will Live On
WESLACO - Life was better with him around, Dora Hernandez said about her husband, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class, Noe Hernandez. He was not only her high school sweetheart, he was the love of her life.
Hernandez’s recalled how Noe would put on a serious demeanor, but she quickly won him over with a smile junior year in high school. Almost 10 years later, they built a life together.
The Navy took them all around the world. One of Noe’s passions was traveling and diving into the cultures versus being a tourist.
Hernandez said, “He loved to travel. He never stopped. We always looked for new places to go to and he made a point of letting me know he wanted our son to grow up traveling, with different ideas, with a broad mind, to be accepting of other cultures, and to understand that there's more to the world than your little bubble. There are people out there that to you, you're on vacation and you're excited, but to them this is their life.”
Joining the U.S. Navy was a calling for Noe Hernandez. A picture sitting amongst dozens of memories on the kitchen counter of his childhood home shows him saluting. Meanwhile, the rest of the surrounding 9-year-olds are making funny face and peace signs. His wife said that was a perfect representation of his commitment early on.
This past year, the Hernandez’s relocated to a base in Japan.
Hernandez said that base is known for frequent deployments, meaning her husband would be gone more often. For Noe, that meant doing more of what he loved.
“He was eager. He wanted to, he was like, ‘Okay I’m here, let's go. I’m going get my sea legs, I want to be out at sea.’ That’s where the action's happening," she said with a smile.
The couple’s last moments together were spent at home, enjoying each other’s company. She said they went to church that weekend before parting ways. The last time they spoke was the night the U.S.S. Fitzgerald collided with another vessel. They had said goodbye that night, like any other, with a goodnight ritual.
With tears in her eyes, she reminisced about her husband saying, “He was a really good husband and father. I'm just glad I got 10 years out of him. I'm just glad I knew love, you know? Because people can go their whole lives without finding true love and I was one of the lucky ones that was able to find it.”
"Lucky to love," those are the words Hernandez used to describe her time with Noe.
She said he taught her to love travel, adventure and life. A love, she said, she'll pass on to their son.