Dec. 13, in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries suffered from enemy
small-arms fire while deployed in Logar province, Afghanistan.
|From WESH TV 2 NBC wesh.com
Apopka Soldier Hit, Killed By Enemy Fire
Soldier Serving In Afghanistan Dies
POSTED: 1:42 pm EST December 14, 2011
APOPKA, Fla. -- A soldier serving in Operation Enduring Freedom died Tuesday from injuries he suffered while deployed in Afghanistan.
Department of Defense officials said Wednesday that 20-year-old Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano, of Apopka, died in Landstuhl, Germany. He was hit by small-arms enemy fire in the Logar province.
Vaquerano was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Vaquerano, a graduate from Forest Lake Academy in Apopka, was set to be married upon his return. His fiancée, Katie Madden, flew to Germany to be with him during his final days this week. Madden said after Vaquerano finished his tour this summer, they planned to get married in August, and then she'd finish nursing school.
"He wanted to serve our country. He wanted to make his family proud. (He) ultimately wanted to be a police officer," said Madden.
Madden, who talked to WESH 2 News on the phone from Germany, said she rushed overseas for his final days in a military hospital.
"He needed to rest. They took him off ventilator. We were there for him for his last breath and when his heart stopped beating," Madden said.
Madden made a tribute video for Vaquerano. She said she doesn't know if he ever got to watch her final tribute.
Madden posted on her Facebook page, "We were just about to start our lives. My room is filled with packed boxes I had waiting to be moved into our home. My beautiful wedding dress I was going to wear for him. The last words I said to him were 'I can't wait to be your wife.' and his were 'Me either, I love you.'"
Madden said Vaquerano, who told her he would just support troops on the ground, was shot in the back of the head and was likely instantly brain dead.
Madden will return home from Germany on Thursday night without her high school sweetheart.
|From KVIA 7 ABC kvia.com
Ft. Bliss Soldier's Fiancée Grieves After He Is Killed In Afghanistan
By ABC-7 News Director Brenda De Anda-Swann
POSTED: 10:57 pm MST December 14, 2011
EL PASO, Texas -- The date was set: Aug. 9, 2011.
They posed with their wedding rings, their hands holding Scrabble tiles spelling the word "forever." And Steven Curtis Chapman's song "We Will Dance" was the thread that tied the memories on the video Katie Madden made for her soldier in Afghanistan.
She sent it to him not too long ago. She doesn't know if he ever got to see it.
Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano of Apopka, Fla., died Tuesday in a Landstuhl, Germany, hospital. The Pentagon said he was wounded during a firefight in Logar province of eastern Afghanistan.
"I cannot figure out why this happened to him. He was planning on getting baptized when he came back. We were just about to start our lives," wrote Madden on her Facebook page. She was with him at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
"My room is filled with packed boxes I had waiting to be moved into our home, my beautiful wedding dress I was going to wear for him and pictures and things he made for me... I'm so lost without my best friend," she wrote.
Vaquerano, 20, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from Fort Bliss, Texas. The same unit lost three other soldiers earlier this month -- Sgt. First Class Clark Corley Jr., Spc. Ryan Lumley and Spc. Thomas Mayberry. They were the first soldiers from Fort Bliss to die in Afghanistan, a post spokeswoman told ABC-7.
The post held a memorial ceremony Wednesday morning in honor of the three.
"We know that when you are off to war that there is a chance that you will give your life," said First Lt. Richard Hartenberg, a Fort Bliss chaplain. "Here at Fort Bliss, we are reminded once again that freedom is not free.''
Madden, a nurse tech at a Florida hospital, knows that all too well.
"The last words I said to him were 'I can't wait to be your wife.' And his were 'Me either, I love you,'" she shared on Facebook.
Then Madden pleaded, "Please, cherish the ones that you have because it can all change in the blink of an eye. I'll never be the same after losing this man,"