Soldier Was ‘Real G.I. Joe'

Memories and tears filled an Imperial Beach home Tuesday as family and friends gathered to mourn a local soldier killed Monday in Afghanistan.

Fourteen Americans, including three DEA agents, died in two separate helicopter crashes on the same day in southern Afghanistan.

At a home on Tremaine Way, Dolores Wallen was remembering the grandson she had raised, U.S. Special Forces Sgt. David Metzger. Wallen learned of Metzger's death when she was visited by a representative of the U.S. Army Monday night.

Metzger’s childhood friend Rigo Rodriguez of Otay Mesa arrived to the Wallace home after hearing the news.

When he walked in, he immediately went to hug Dolores. The two of them embraced for more than a few minutes and wept.

“Be here for me,” Wallen asked him.

Rodriguez shook his head in disbelief. He had just talked with Metzger on the phone Sunday. “He made me feel like everything was okay," he said. "That he was out of harm’s way.”

For the next several minutes, Wallen and Rodriguez reminisced about the little boy who played rough but grew up to be one of the best of the best – a member of the Green Berets.

Born in San Diego on April 7, 1977, Metzger was raised in Imperial Beach where he played Little League with Rodriguez. He attended Mar Vista High school where he met his future wife.

After high school, Metzger decided to join the military to help support his new wife and their baby. Wallen remembers that she didn’t want him to go but he told her he needed to support his family.

Metzger was recruited in Chula Vista and eventually trained to be a member of Green Berets in North Carolina. He served in Afghanistan, returning four times according to Wallen.

“He was just a driven character. He always over achieved,” said his friend Rodriguez. “Everything he did, he did to the top of his capabilities.”

“He had a lot of bars on the side of his arm and he was very proud of that,” according to Rodriguez who then quietly added, “He’s my real G.I. Joe.”

Metzger’s wife will be returning to California to help with burial arrangements.

“In anything he did, he wanted to achieve and be top at it. He was a champion,” Rodriguez said repeating the word again for Wallen, holding his hand and sitting next to him on the couch. “A champion,” he whispered again.

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