Dena Yllescas-Johnston speaks at Military Affairs Council breakfast

Dena Yllescas-Johnston spoke at the MAC breakfast on Thursday morning at the Geary County Convention Center.

Dena Yllescas-Johnston spoke Thursday morning about the bravery of her late husband who died serving his country.

Yllescas-Johnston shared her message during the Military Affairs Council’s monthly breakfast at the Geary County Convention Center.

Yllescas-Johnston is the widow of Captain Rob Yllescas, who was well respected by many. To get to that point, Yllescas went through Ranger School at the age of 30. He was the oldest in one there, but he didn’t care. On July 3, 2008, he deployed for Afghanistan. Yllescas-Johnston said her husband was advanced in the sense that he was doing things that previous commanders weren’t able to do.

Yllescas was the victim of an attack on Oct. 28, 2008, that left him in bad condition. An improvised explosive device detonated near his unit at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan.

In the hospital where he was being tended to, President George W. Bush awarded him with a Purple Heart. Yllescas-Johnston said Bush hugged her and cried knowing the pain and struggle she was enduring. Due to the shape he was left in after the attack left him on life support, he succumbed to his injuries on Dec. 1, 2008. Not only did Yllescas-Johnston lose her husband that day, but she also lost her best friend and father of her children.

Yllescas-Johnston said she strives to honor her late husband by telling the stories of who he was and the impact on others he made. His two daughters, Julia and Eva, have sung at a number of military events in honor of their father. These events include the USS Intrepid in New York when they unveiled the New York Remembering Our Fallen memorial. Yllescas-Johnston and the girls also participated in a Purple Heart and Gold Star Family Honor Flight to Washington D.C. over Memorial Day Weekend.

Yllescas will be depicted in an upcoming movie, “The Outpost.” Milo Gibson, the son of Oscar-winner Mel Gibson, will play Yllescas. The movie is scheduled to premiere Oct. 7, Rob Yllescas’s birthday.

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