Patriot Brigade 'Warriors' Honor Fallen Infantry Brother
(May 22, 2011)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (5/06/2011) – U.S. Army Pfc. Jonathan M.
Villanueva's leaders and comrades gathered to honor their fallen
19-year-old infantry brother's service and sacrifice on Combat Outpost
Sultan Khel in Wardak province, Afghanistan, May 6.
was an infantryman from Jacksonville, Fla., assigned to 4th Platoon,
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warrior, 4th
Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, TF Patriot. He
died as the result of wounds suffered from small-arms fire during an
enemy engagement while providing security at a traffic control point in
Wardak province April 27.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas Rickard, TF
Warrior commander, from Columbus, Ga., said Villanueva came from a
strong, patriotic family – a family whose only two sons served in the
nation's Army during a time of war. Villanueva's brother, U.S. Army Spc.
Diego Villanueva is deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd Squadron, 17th
Cavalry Regiment, explained Rickard before asking, “How many families
could suffer such a loss and have the faith to make the following
statements earlier this week?”
“Becoming a soldier was a dream of
his when he was younger. Jonathan left this world doing what he loved.
His death, along with the other servicemen and women who have lost their
lives since the Sept. 11 tragedy, were not in vain,” read Rickard from a
Villanueva family statement. “Their efforts, combined, helped put an end
to the evil of Bin Laden.
“We were always very proud of Jonathan
for his accomplishments, and we will continue to be very proud,” said
the Villanueva family. “Jonathan loved his job, uniform and country. He
loved his family and friends. He lives within our hearts, and we will
never forget the joy he has brought us. He will always be remembered as
a true friend, a great son, a loyal brother and a hero to all.”
A memorial display and photo of U.S. Army
Pfc. Jonathan Villanueva stand before an audience of 4th Brigade
Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division's Task Force Patriot soldiers
and civilians attending a memorial service for Villanueva on Combat
Outpost Sultan Khel in Wardak province, Afghanistan, May 6, 2011.
Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Matt Meadows
Rickard said Villanueva's leaders and comrades are blessed to have
served with such a man and are grateful for families like the
Villanuevas. His family's unyielding support motivates the unit's
Soldiers to remember Villanueva through continuing on with their
“We can learn much from the example of the Villanueva
family, who believe strongly in our cause, as they endure the pain of
losing their son,” said Rickard.
“We, who serve today, are part
of the most powerful family on this planet, as soldiers in the greatest
Army the world has ever seen .... We respect every soldier in harm's way
who knows well the risks of our profession, the complexities of
conducting counter-insurgency warfare and the frustration of fighting an
enemy who tests us by attacking our moral obligations, from which he is
U.S. Army Capt. James Gallagher, Company D
commander, from Royal Oaks, Mich., said TF Warrior honors Villanueva's
wartime service to the nation, respects his bravery during multiple
enemy engagements and remembers Villanueva for being a wonderful human
“Jonathan was everything a company commander could want
from a soldier,” said Gallagher. “He was tough, motivated and selfless;
he was a fine professional and a dedicated warrior.
‘Villa,' as we call him, has been tough on all of us, and we will always
keep him in our memory for who he was and how he died – serving his
country during war,” continued Gallagher. “We will always remember
Jonathan was a good man, a role model to his fellow soldiers and a good
U.S. Army Pfc. Andrew Marcum, Villanueva's Company D
brother-in-arms from Schertz, Texas, said they were very good friends.
They experienced Basic Combat Training and Airborne school together and
often socialized together after work hours, he said.
“‘V' was a
pretty laid back guy, and you would usually catch him sleeping, eating
or just watching something on his laptop; but as most of our platoon
knows, mostly he would just sleep,” joked Marcum.
Villanueva planned to re-enlist to attend Ranger school and go on to an
assignment at a Ranger battalion. Had Villanueva been able to pursue his
plans, he most likely would have successfully fulfilled his dreams, said
“There is no doubt in my mind that he would be able to
make it through anything put in front of him, but that is just the guy
he was,” said Marcum. “He wasn't just a good soldier though; he was also
a very good friend. Anytime someone needed something, if he had it, he
would help us out.
“Anytime someone had a problem he would be
there for us,” continued Marcum. “He was just the kind of guy you were
always able to count on – no matter what – when you needed him.”
Marcum and Villanueva used to tell each other they are “Brothers for
life, in this life or the next,” said Marcum. "That will always stand
true; and even though he may be gone, he will never be forgotten by any
Gallagher said Villanueva was an “ideal American” who was
young, idealistic, brave and willing to risk his life every day for the
safety of the United States, just like so many of his comrades who
gathered to honor and pay respects to Villanueva that day.
owe it to his family and our fellow Americans back home to always honor
his memory,” said Gallagher. “We owe it to tell our countrymen about his
sacrifice and about who he was as a man. He was soft spoken, kind,
tenacious in battle and a personal example of what makes our country
Villanueva's awards and decorations include the
following: Bronze Star Medal; Purple
Heart Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal;
Afghan Campaign Medal, with one campaign star; Global War on Terror
Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon;
Combat Infantryman Badge.
By Combined Joint Task Force 101
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