Dr. Michael A. “Bo” Cruz, LTC, USA (Ret), age 69, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, peacefully passed away on November 30, 2021, surrounded by his loved ones.
Bo was born in Manhattan, New York and raised in the South Bronx. He was the second of four boys of Victor Cruz and Susana (Vargas) Cruz.
Bo attended Our Lady of Victory Grammar School, Cardinal Hayes High School and is a graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx. Bo was not only a man of strength and courage, but a man of wisdom and knowledge. Bo received a Masters of Education from the University of Southern California and his Doctor of Education from Fayetteville State University, North Carolina
Bo’s greatest devotion aside from loving his family was the Military. Bo’s Army career launched when he graduated from Army Ranger School as a Distinguished Honor Graduate. Upon graduation, he remained as a Ranger Instructor with the Training Support Bridge at Fort Benning, Georgia. Bo always had a passion for flying and decided to branch transfer to Aviation. After completing flight school, he was assigned as a Flight Leader (Air Cavalry Squadron) to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) flying the AH-1 Cobra in Fuecht, Germany. He continued to serve with the 2nd ACR when he accepted a position as Tank Troop Commander.
Bo’s next assignment brought him to Fort Bragg, home of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, where he completed the rigorous training to become a Special Forces Green Beret. Bo served as a Special Forces Company Commander with 7th Special Forces Group (A). Bo subsequently served with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta Operator and then the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment as a MH-6 Little Bird Pilot.
Bo decided to take a break from active duty and persue a civilian career for about a decade. After September 11, 2001, Bo was recalled to Active-Duty for the National Guard as the Director of Counterterrorism for the state of North Carolina. With prior aviation qualifications, Bo returned to Fort Rucker and completed the AH-64 Apache qualification course for the North Carolina Army National Guard. Bo seized the opportunity again to serve alongside of his Green Beret Brothers. He was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group (A) and deployed to the Afghanistan and Iraq Theater of Operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Bo culminated his career as both the Professor of Military Science at Fayetteville State University, NC and as Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Where he continued to inspire young cadets into strong leaders.
LTC Michael A. “Bo” Cruz’s military career was one filled with pride and honor serving the United States of America, which he held dear to his heart. Bo attended Command and General Staff College, earned the US Special Forces Tab, US Army Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge (2), Expert Infantry Badge, Master Aviator Badge, Special Operations Diver Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Honduran Jumpmaster Parachutist Badge, and the German Armed Forces Parachute Badge Gold. He most certainly was a “Quiet Professional”!
Bo had many honorable accomplishments throughout his life, 2nd Degree Black Belt, Body Building and Weight Lifting Competitor and Eagle Scout, to highlight just a few. One of Bo’s greatest passions was hunting. Bo knew he hit the jackpot and found his soulmate when he married his wife Nicola. His joy of hunting was not only encouraged by Nicola, she became an accomplished hunter herself with guidance and training from her husband. In recent years, Bo also enjoyed being a Shriner. Many a days he could be found at the Al Kaly Shrine Mule Barn grooming his “other love” his mule CB (short for Cola and Bo) and saddling her up for a ride.
Bo is survived by the love of his life Nicola Natale; his daughters Brandy Cruz and Shannon (Benny) Karpus; his mother Susana Cruz; his brother Albert (Eveliz) Cruz; his grandsons Cameron Moore and Samuel Karpus; his nephew Christopher Cruz; his niece Jacqueline Gutierrez; his great-nephews Liam, Manny and Abraham. He is preceded in death by his father Victor Cruz; his brothers Pedro Cruz and Victor Cruz, Jr.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, from 5-8 p.m. at the Shrine of Remembrance, 1730 E. Fountain Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO. Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2021, at St. Benedict Catholic Church, 12150 Falcon Highway, Peyton, CO; with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made in memory of Michael A. Cruz to:
Green Beret Foundation, 14351 Blanco Road, San Antonio, TX 78216 (https://greenberetfoundation.org/donate/ ) or Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Bo, we Love you and your absence has left an enormous void within our Hearts. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and we all thank the Lord for blessing us to be a part of your life. We know there was a Chariot with Mules waiting to take you through the Pearly Gates of Heaven.
De Oppresso Liber!