Gil I Morales Del Valle
August 3, 2011
Killed in Wardak province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
|Pfc. Gil Isai Morales Del Valle
Date of Death - August 3, 2011
Pfc Gil Isai Morales Del Valle, age 21, of Jacksonville died in the line of duty on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 while serving in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan. He had been in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since being deployed in October 2010. Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, he was the son of Gil Evelio Morales and Gladys Del Valle. At the age of eight, Isai left Humacao, Puerto Rico and came to Jacksonville (with his mother, sister and stepfather). Pfc Morales had attended Chess Creek Elementary School, (DePaul School), Twin Lakes Academy, Andrew Jackson and was a graduate of Crossroads Academy, Class of 2008. After high school, he attended FCCJ studying Criminal Justice and worked as a Shift Manager at Auntie Anns in Regency Mall. In February of 2010, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and received basic training at Fort Benning, GA. After basic training, he was trained as a Sharpshooter at Fort Polk, LA. In October of 2010, his unit was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Mr. Morales’s family recalls his love of his church, spending time with friends and playing computer games. He leaves behind, his mother and step father, Gladys Del Valle and Renes Perez, Jacksonville, FL, his father, Gil E. Morales. Irvine, TX, one sister, Kiara Crystal Perez, Jacksonville, FL, longtime girlfriend, Narim Alim, Jacksonville, FL, maternal grandfather, Isabel Del Valle, Arroyo, Puerto Rico, maternal grandmother, Flora Montanez, Patillas, Puerto Rico, step paternal grandparents, Abdon and Elica Perez, San Sebastian, Puerto Rico. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm on Friday, August 12, 2011 from the Rock of Salvation Church, 2361 Cortez Road, Jacksonville, FL with Reverend Jose Bonfante, officiating. His family will receive friends on Friday at the church, prior to and following the service. Pfc Morales will be laid to rest in Puerto Rico National Cemetery, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Please share his life story at www.oxleyheard.com OXLEY - HEARD FUNERAL DIRECTORS
|From News 4 JAX news4jax.com 10/03/11:
Girlfriend Honors Fallen Hero's Legacy
21-Year-Old Killed In Afghanistan Last Week
Published On: Oct 03 2011 04:21:59 PM EDT Updated On: Aug 08 2011 09:10:15 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
For the first time since his death last Wednesday, those closest to a local soldier killed in Afghanistan spoke Monday.
Pfc. Gill "Isai" Morales Del Valle, 21, and another soldier were killed in the Wardak province when their vehicle ran into an improvised explosive device.
Morales Del Valle grew up in Jacksonville, and his family and girlfriend live on the Southside, where she talked Monday about the legacy Morales Del Valle leaves behind.
His family said he was friendly, energetic and courageous. They said he wanted to leave the world a better place, and he hoped to be a police officer.
He's gone now, but his family said he's left them so proud, and his legacy will carry on for generations to come.
"He wanted to be something. He wanted to be a hero. Be somebody in life, different from everybody else," said Narin Alim, Morales Del Valle's girlfriend.
Alim said she cherishes the loving memories of her boyfriend, a man she'd known for more than six years. Her fondest memory: The last time he returned home from Afghanistan, it was only for two weeks, but it meant the world to her.
"I've never seen him so happy," Alim said. "He was just smiling the whole time."
That's when she found out Morales Del Valle, known by most as Isai, couldn't wait to come home for good.
"Everything was just getting worse over there," Alim said. "More missions, more missions. More attacks. And he would always come back safe. But he was very worried."
Morales Del Valle's fears would come true.
The 21-year-old soldier and Narim always talked over Skype when she got off work, she said. They'd spoken earlier in the day, and the last thing he told her was, 'I love you very much,' she said. But that night, Morales Del Valle wasn't online.
"When I saw that he wasn't on, I was kind of worried," Alim said. "But I was like, 'No Narin, no. False alarm. He's OK. He's been trained. He knows what he's doing. And then I get a phone call from his parents. And like, my heart dropped. I was just like, 'no.'"
Morales Del Valle, along with 19-year-old Pfc. Cody G. Baker, of Kansas, died when a bomb exploded.
"I miss him a lot, but we know that he's with God," Alim said. "And he has him in a better place. He's not in Afghanistan anymore, suffering and getting shot at."
Morales Del Valle leaves behind quite the legacy, having won numerous awards in the Army, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He also leaves behind his parents, who live in Jacksonville, with his younger sister. They said they really miss their high-spirited, friendly son, but appreciate all the love and support from the community.
"Nobody's going to forget about him. He'll always be in our hearts," Alim said. "He's always going to be remembered. Always."
Morales Del Valle's family said his body will arrive at Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Friday morning. There will be a service on the base, and then he'll be escorted to their church for a public memorial service. The family said the community is invited.
They have not yet set a time for the funeral, which will be held at the Rock of Salvation Church on Cortes Road on the Southside.
Morales Del Valle's body will be flown to Puerto Rico, where most of his family lives, so he can be laid to rest.
Copyright 2011 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
|Governor orders flags lowered on Saturday in honor of Pfc. Cody G. Baker
Topeka – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has ordered flags in the State of Kansas to be flown at half-staff on Saturday, August 13, in honor of Pfc. Cody G. Baker, of Holton, Kansas, who died on August 3, 2011, while serving in the U.S. Army in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.
"On behalf of the state of Kansas, Lt. Gov. Colyer and I offer our deepest sympathies to the Baker family," Gov. Brownback said. "Pfc. Baker answered the call to serve and he is a hero for his sacrifice. Kansas and her citizens are deeply grateful for his service to our country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
In a year and a half of service, Baker was the recipient of numerous awards and decorations including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
The Pentagon said Pfc. Baker and Pfc. Gil I. Morales Del Valle, 21, of Jacksonville, Florida, were killed when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
Pfc. Baker was an infantryman with the Fort Polk, Louisiana based 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Evangel United Methodist Church in Holton with burial to follow in Holton Cemetery.
|From jacksonville.com 08/12/11
Pastor: Soldier’s death only temporary separation from loved ones
Memorial for Pfc. Gil Isai Morales Del Valle packed
Posted: August 12, 2011 - 4:41pm | Updated: August 13, 2011 - 5:08pm
By Jeff Brumley
The combat death of Army Pfc. Gil Isai Morales Del Valle may have been violent and it may have been jolting and unexpected, but it was not tragic and it was not sad, his pastor told mourners Friday.
If anything, the 21-year-old Jacksonville soldier’s Aug. 3 death in Afghanistan should bring joy because it means Morales Del Valle is with Christ in heaven, Pastor Jose Bonfante said during a memorial service at Rock of Salvation Church on Cortez Road. And that, he added, means his biological and church families will see him again.
“For Isai today is not a goodbye, it’s ‘see you later — we’ll see you later, Isai,’ ” Bonfante told more than 500 in attendance.
Morales Del Valle was one of two soldiers in 10th Mountain Division killed when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, the Army said.
Despite the applause Bonfante’s comments elicited, many in the audience cried at times during the two-hour event, especially as family and friends shared humorous and touching stories detailing Morales Del Valle’s transformation from boy to man.
Step-father Renes Perez recalled their first meeting when the boy was 4 and finding him already exuding intelligence, energy, imagination and a desire to be a superhero. The boy was involved in martial harts, gymnastics, piano and Boy Scouts.
Morales Del Valle later channeled that energy into a desire to join the military, which he did in February 2010. He threw himself enthusiastically into his current deployment, which began in October.
“He left teaching us you don’t have to have superhero powers to be a superhero,” Perez said. “You do this by loving your family and your nation.”
Friend Oscar Pineda said those qualities were in full display in 2009 when Pineda’s father died.
“He was the first one there to comfort me,” Pineda said. “He was just always like that.”
Friday was a long day for the soldier’s loved ones.
His body arrived at Jacksonville Naval Air Station by charter jet shortly before 11 a.m. and was greeted in an emotional military ceremony in which his casket was transferred by soldiers in dress uniform from the plane to a hearse.
Hundreds of sailors, soldiers and Marines, and scores of civilians, including emergency responders, Patriot Guard riders, veterans and others, stood solemnly during the ceremony and then escorted the family’s limo to the church. Along the way, police closed ramps and major intersections for the procession.
Morales Del Valle’s body was to lie in state Friday night and then to be transported to his native Puerto Rico, an official with Oxley-Heard Funeral Directors said.
The scene at the air station plus the outpouring of support from church members, the military, the media brought comfort to the grieving family, said Morales Del Valle’s mother, Gladys Del Valle.
“Thank you for your immense demonstration of love … in these days of pain,” she said. “‘The rest of my life would not be enough to thank you.”
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