|From The Houston Chronicle chron.com
Houston sergeant dies in Afghanistan bombing
Houston soldier dies in Afghanistan
, Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
Published 05:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante had just deployed to Afghanistan on July 25, but he couldn't wait to come home on leave in November to witness the birth of his son.
"He was all excited he was having a boy," said his stepmother, Nancy Infante.
She said the 30-year-old soldier, who also has a 6-year-old daughter, Kassandra, planned to name the baby boy Jesse. "He was going to be a junior," she said.
Infante will never get the chance to meet his namesake. The staff sergeant died Monday in Afghanistan's Arghandab River Valley of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
A total of 23 Houston-area service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began, and Infante is the ninth so far this year. He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Carson, Colo.
Four other soldiers from Fort Carson also died in the same attack: Capt. Dale A. Goetz, 43, of White, S.D.; Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler, 32, of Canton, Ohio; Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West, 36, of Conover, Wis.; and Pfc. Chad D. Clements, 26, of Huntington, Ind.
On Wednesday, an American flag decorated with black ribbon hung from the roof of a carport in front of the Infante family's north Houston home. In the living room, the soldier's father, Jesus Infante, watched with red-rimmed eyes as a TV cameraman set up a tripod and studio light near the front door.
'We were worried'
The 50-year-old welder and painter braced himself for another interview. He hadn't slept much since Army officials showed up at 11:30 Monday night to announce his son's death.
"He called me once from over there to let me know he was OK," Jesus Infante said. "He loved it."
"We were worried, but he said nothing was going to happen," Nancy Infante said. "He said he was going to be fine, but of course ... " She shrugged, her eyes brimming with tears.
The mother of Infante's unborn son, Angelica Gonzalez, lives in Colorado and could not be reached.
Jesse Infante was born and raised in Houston, the oldest of five siblings. He graduated in 1999 from Sam Houston High School, where he joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
He enlisted in the Army in January 2000 and served a combat tour in Iraq from December 2005 to December 2006.
'A great soldier'
Infante planned to spend his career in the Army. He hoped to become a drill sergeant someday, his relatives said.
"His dad wanted to convince him to get out already, but he wanted to stay in because he loved it," his stepmother said.
"He wanted to convince his younger brother to go in," she added. "He's 20. He was thinking about it, but he got really upset when he heard the news" of his big brother's death.
Jesus Infante hopes that someday his son's children will understand their father's sacrifice.
"He was a great man, a great soldier," Nancy Infante said. "He was out there fighting for all of us and we're all going to miss him."
In addition to his father, stepmother and daughter, Infante is survived by his girlfriend, sister Jessica Infante, 22, and three brothers, Juan, 20, Estevan, 17, and Julian, 16.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
|From FamilyFriends166AR's Blog
The ‘Raider’ Brigade mourns the loss of Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante
Posted: September 7, 2010 in Uncategorized
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The ‘Raider’ Brigade mourns the loss of one of our own, who was killed Monday, 30 Aug. near the Arghandab river valley outside Kandahar City, Afghanistan while on a combat logistics patrol.
Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, a 30-year-old native of Cypress, Texas was assigned to Foward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, where he served as a section cheif.
Among his Soldiers, Infante was known as an irreplaceable leader. He cared deeply for the welfare of each of the Soldiers he led and during his time with the ‘Iron Knights’, he created a band of brothers within his platoon.
“Jesse Infante was like a father figure to his Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sean Patterson, platoon sergeant, 1-66AR. “He was a calm and collected NCO that handled difficult tasks with very little effort.”
Jesse and his wife, Angelica, would have platoon get-togethers at their house, where they invited the Soldiers to bring their families on a weekly basis to enjoy a Thanksgiving-like meal every time, said Patterson.
Infante enlisted in the Army as a Petroleum Supply Specialist in January, 2000. Upon completion of his training, he reported to Fort Irwin, Calif., where he was assigned to Heaquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Battalion, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
In February, 2004, he was reassigned to 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment at Camp Casey, Korea. While at Camp Casey, he attended Warrior Leaders Course and was promoted to the rank of sergeant.
His unit was deactivated in March, 2005, and he was reassigned to FSC, 1-66AR at Fort Hood, Texas. He deployed to Iraq for 12 months with 1-66AR in February 2005.
“I met Jesse more than five years ago as a young Pvt. juts coming into the Army,” said Sgt. Thomas Jung, distribution platoon squad leader, 1-66AR. “He mentored me into the man and leader I am today. He never steered his Soldiers to failure and always gave them the guidance they needed to succeed and to become great battle buddies and Brothers.
“I want everyone to remember that he was the guy everyone wanted to know and could only aspire to be,” said Jung. “There was no one like him and he can never be replaced.”
A memorial in Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante’s honor was held in Afghanistan.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, a 30-year-old native of Cypress, Texas, was killed while on a combat logistics patrol near the Arghandab river valley outside Kandahar City. He was assigned to Foward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division