Apr 15, 2019 6:42 PM

LTC Lluberes' wife Moraima and their daughter Maria Luisa pictured with Maggie Mitchell, Kimo Huddleston, and mounted umpires Fergus Gould and Hector Galindo.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones. On November 1, 2013, teams4taps was launched - an initiative to create meaningful opportunities for families of the fallen to engage with the teams they cheered for with their fallen hero. Former official Bob Delaney, and now NBA’s Vice President of Referee Development and Performance introduced USPA Umpires, LLC to TAPS after an umpire meeting with 25 USPA professional umpires at the Lake Worth, Florida, offices in the spring of 2016. The NBA along with many other sport associations bring a TAPS family to a sports event, where the family is introduced to the officials and then watches the game.

Continuing their partnership with TAPS, the USPA Umpires, LLC invited the surviving family of United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Edmundo (Ed) Lluberes to watch polo on Sunday, April 7, at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. His spouse Moraima (Mo), and one of their three daughters, Maria Luisa, were treated to lunch and the best stadium box seating of a 2019 CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® featured game between Pilot and Postage Stamp Farm.

LTC Lluberes was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on August 5, 1963. He received an Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate Commission from King's College, Pennsylvania in 1986. After Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile training in Vandenberg AFB, California, he was assigned to Malmstrom AFB, Montana, where he served as Combat Crew Commander and Executive Officer. In 1990, after completing Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama and Command & Control School at Kessler AFB, Mississippi, he was assigned to Torrejon AFB, Spain, as Chief of the Air Mobility Control Center during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

During this period, he deployed numerous times to the Middle East and Mogadishu, Somalia, as a member of the Airlift Control Element (ALCE) Teams. In 1993, LTC Lluberes was assigned to Charleston AFB, South Carolina, as ALCE Commander, Operations Officer, Executive Officer and participated in many worldwide operations, to include: Support Hope - Rwanda & Uganda; Uphold Democracy - Haiti; and United Shield - Kenya and Zaire. In 1995, the unit transferred to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, to become the Air Mobility Operations Group.

For the next five years, LTC Lluberes participated in numerous Special Operation, Presidential Support, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Missions, along with countless military exercises or contingencies in every corner of the world. Additionally, he was assigned for one year to the US Embassy in Peru, working Counter Drug Operations. Furthermore, he participated in operation Guardian Retrieval - Republic of Congo; Joint Endeavor - Bosnia; Allied Force - Kosovo and Laser Strike - Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.

In 2000, LTC Lluberes transitioned into the Air Force Reserve and worked for more than fourteen years on active duty status at the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida. During this period, he served for eight years as Executive Officer and Aide-de-Camp to three General Officers, was assigned for a year to the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay and worked for six years in the Plans, Policy and Strategy Directorate (J5).

LTC Lluberes transferred from the Air Force to the Army in 2006 and retired with more than 28 years of honorable and faithful Active Duty military service in August 2014. His decorations include five Defense Meritorious Service Medals, AF Meritorious Service Medal, three Joint Service Commendation Medals, four AF Commendation Medals, five Joint Service Achievement Medals, three AF Achievement Medals and numerous other awards and decorations.

Sadly, LTC Lluberes died in a motorcycle accident on January 25, 2015, just five short months after retiring from the military. He leaves behind his wife, Moraima (Mo), and their three daughters, Maria Guadalupe, Maria Laura and Maria Luisa (12).

Umpire Manager Maggie Mitchell along with USPA Umpires Hector Galindo, Fergus Gould and Kimo Huddleston joined the TAPS participants on the field to share the game of polo and commemorate the life of LTC Lluberes. "Having come from a military family myself, I’m am very grateful for the chance to give back to the Armed Forces,” said Mitchell. “On behalf of USPA Umpires, LLC it was wonderful to work with the TAPS organization and bring the Lluberes family, the loved ones of a fallen American hero, to experience the U.S. Open Polo Championship®."