The soon-to-be-completed blind rehabilitation facility in Long Beach will be named the, Major Charles Robert Soltes Jr., O.D., Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Center, in memory of the Army optometrist who was killed in the line of duty. Maj. Soltes, the husband of SCCO Assistant Professor Sally H. Dang, O.D., was the first-ever Army optometry officer killed in action.
The U.S. Congress approved the measure that was introduced into the U.S. House by Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and Rep Filner (D-Calif.). The bill (H.R. 4360) officially designates the blind rehabilitation facility to be named after the long-time military optometrist and officer.
Major Soltes served as a public health officer with the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion, U.S. Army Reserves, in Mosul, Iraq. In 2004, he was deployed to command a public health team charged with setting up seven hospitals to help provide the Iraqi people with access to a range of health care services. Maj. Soltes, 36, had only been in Mosul a few weeks when he was killed in the line of duty on October 14, 2004.