Iraq War claims Caribbean lives

Post Reply
Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Iraq War claims Caribbean lives

Post by Charles Arthur » Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:08 pm

Iraq War claims Caribbean lives

9 November 2005 - AlterPresse

by Charles Arthur

The news that over 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed during the Iraq War has been noted with shock and anguish in the United States. The fact that an unknown number of those dead were originally from the Caribbean has attracted less scrutiny.

The exact number of Caribbean immigrants in Iraq fighting in either U.S. or British military units remains unclear, but officials speculate the number could be as high as several hundred. Although many of those serving in the U.S. Army were either born in the United States or had become naturalized citizens before being shipped out to the Persian Gulf, officials speculate that most are permanent residents or green card holders.

Recent newspaper reports suggest that some of those who enlist for service in the U.S. military are Caribbean immigrants attracted by
the offer of citizenship, and that a number of them have been killed in Iraq.

Legal permanent residents of the United States had been allowed to join the U.S. military and seek citizenship after three years of active service. In July 2002 President Bush signed an executive order allowing anyone on active duty after September 11, 2001, to immediately apply for citizenship.

Then, in July 2003, the U.S. government made a special allowance for those serving in Iraq when it introduced the Riayan Tejeda Memorial Act. The Act “authorizes naturalization without regard to specified immigration and Nationality Act requirements for an alien who has served honorably in a combat zone in connection with Operation Iraqi Freedom." (Riayan Tejeda was a 26-year old sergeant in the U.S. Marines who was killed during combat operations in Baghdad on April 11, 2003. Tejeda was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and had moved to New York when he was 11 years old.)

One of those hoping to take advantage
of the new law was Kendell Frederick, from the U.S state of Maryland. Frederick, a 21-year-old soldier originally from Trinidad, had been in the United States since 1999. He had been in Iraq for about 10 months when, on October 19, 2005, he was killed near Tikrit, when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle. At the time, he was riding in a convoy to provide fingerprints needed for the application process for U.S. citizenship when he was killed.

His mother, Michelle Murphy, tearfully told reporters, "I got a letter from his commander stating the only reason he was on that convoy is because he was on his way to do the fingerprints again, trying to become an American citizen, and died doing it."

Murphy said she didn’t understand why the nation was at war in Iraq. She described President Bush as "cold-hearted," saying she didn’t believe he had given the nation a good reason for being in the war.

"I don’t believe a lot of the soldiers over there know why they’re o
ver there," she said. "My son didn’t know why he was over there."

Another recent casualty of the Iraq War was Guy Sanguinette, a 23-year old sergeant in the U.S. Army National Guard, who was killed when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee while he was on patrol in Baghdad on October 29. Sanguinette was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but became a U.S. citizen in July 2004. He had joined the National Guard as a way to pay for his education.

His mother Donna Sanguinette said her son’s death was senseless. "I could understand if my son had died on American soil or if he had died in Afghanistan. But for my son to die in Baghdad ... All because of President Bush and his ego trip," she said angrily.

Earlier this year, the British media gave extensive coverage to the fate of Donal Meade, a 20-year old soldier killed on 5 September by a roadside bomb near the Shaibah base, the British army's logistics headquarters in Iraq, about 10 miles south-west of Basra. Meade had emigrated to B
ritain at the age of 10 when his home on the Caribbean island of Montserrat was destroyed by the ash and devastation of volcanic eruptions.

In June 2003, despite being one of the only Caribbean heads of state to believe that the U.S. and Britian had legitimate reasons to invade Iraq, Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, voiced his fears. Referring to the numerous Caribbean nationals serving in Iraq, Gonsalves said, “Our people are profoundly concerned about their fate. I have been in touch with the British government, and they are keeping us informed about the welfare of our nationals at war.”

The only Caribbean country to fully support the U.S. and British-led occupation of Iraq by providing their own troops was the Dominican Republic. The several hundred-strong Dominican force arrived in Iraq in August 2003. It was attacked on numerous occasions but avoided any fatal casualties, according to official reports. The last contingent of Dominican troops
were withdrawn from Iraq in April 2004.

First published by AlterPresse

"Eye on the Caribbean" is realized by Charles Arthur, and is provided in a partnership between the Haiti Support Group and AlterPresse as a contribution to Haiti’s greater integration within the Caribbean region.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2153
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:03 pm

Post by admin » Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:50 pm

Very good article, Charles! Nevertheless, it would have been better if you included examples of Haitian nationals also.

Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Haitian nationals in US Army in Iraq?

Post by Charles Arthur » Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:37 am

Dear Guy

If you have examples of Haitian nationals in US Army who have been killed in Iraq, please send me the details.



Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Two Haitian-Americans killed in Iraq explosion

Post by Charles Arthur » Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:19 am

[quote]Posted on Fri, Sep. 09, 2005
2 Miami troops are killed in Iraq explosion

A pair of soldiers from Miami died when their Humvee struck an insurgent-planted bomb and rolled over. They were the eighth and ninth from the area killed in action.


Two soldiers from Miami were killed this week in Iraq when an explosion rigged by suspected insurgents caused their Humvee to roll over, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Sgt. Jude Ralph Jonaus, 27, died Tuesday of head injuries when the device detonated near the vehicle.

They were the only two killed in the incident.

The second soldier, Sgt. Franklin R. Vilorio, 26, was also from Miami, according to the Pentagon. However, military officials said late Thursday that Vilorio has no known relatives in Florida.

Jonaus and Vilorio had both
been assigned to the Brigade Troops Battalion, Division Support Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga.

Jonaus and Vilorio are the eighth and ninth soldiers from Miami-Dade killed in action, according to the Pentagon. Six Broward soldiers also have died. As of Wednesday, 1,896 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003, according to a count maintained by The Associated Press.

Gernessoit and Amenia Jonaus, were notified of the death of the second oldest of their seven children Tuesday when a contingent of military officers came to their home in Northeast Miami-Dade. Only their youngest son, Ricky, 21, was home at the time.

'They said, `Are your parents here?' '' Ricky Jonaus recalled. 'I said, `Why do you want to speak to my parents?' But I knew. I said, 'Which of my brothers was it?' ''

Pierre Jonaus, 31, is a Marine corporal also serving in Iraq. He will return home for his brother's funeral. Services have not been
scheduled, but it is expected that Jude Jonaus' body will arrive in the United States Tuesday.

Marckendy Jonaus, 22, left the U.S. Army after serving two tours in Iraq.

Gernessoit and Amenia Jonaus are immigrants from Haiti, who sent for Jonaus in 1992.

Jonaus dreamed of being a career soldier even as a student at North Miami Senior High, his family said. He joined the Army immediately after graduating in 1996.

'Ever since he was a little boy, he would say, `When I grow up, I want to be the chief,' '' his father said.

He was stationed at Fort Meade, Md., but asked for a transfer to Fort Stewart, to facilitate his deployment to Iraq.

He was sent to Baghdad seven months ago as a pharmacy technician, his family said.

He assured his family his job placed him far from the line of fire.

'When he left, one of my cousins said `Be careful,' and he answered, 'Man, I'm nowhere near danger. What am I going to do? Slip on a pill?' '' Ricky Jonaus remember
ed Thursday.

Jude Jonaus, who never married and had no children, was an avid athlete. In April, he placed sixth in a bench-press contest at Camp Taji, Iraq, when, weighing 176 pounds, he lifted 260 pounds, according to a camp powerlifting posting on the Internet.

A military photograph shows him playing soccer with a fellow soldier.

Jonaus was tightly woven into the fabric of his family: In July, his father, a Miami taxi operator, wrecked his cab.

He gave him $3,000 for a down payment on a new vehicle.

Jonaus helped Ricky with his tuition at Miami Dade College. He once sent Ricky and sister Sharen plane tickets to visit him in Maryland.

And he never forgot to acknowledge a sibling's birthday. On Monday, Jonaus marked Sharen's 17th birthday with a call home.

'He called my daughter to say `Happy Birthday' Monday because it was my daughter's birthday,'' Amenia Jonaus said.

''Hours later,'' Gernessoit Jonaus said, ``he was dead.''

While Jo
naus' family has no hesitation with serving this country, several members expressed deep reservations about the wisdom of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

''I don't think that war was our business,'' his mother Amenia Jonaus said. ``Anything for this country, I'm all for it, but we have no business over there. I would help anybody who asks for it, but these people don't want our help.''

In a sad twist, Sharen Jonaus, a junior at North Miami Senior, received an Army recruiting flier in the mail Thursday. ''I wanted to rip it up,'' the youngest member of the family said.

Inside, it read, ``Get more information and a free personalized dog tag.''

A set of dog tags -- Jonaus' -- is already on the way to the family.


Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Jonaus was from Haiti, Vilorio was from the DR

Post by Charles Arthur » Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:34 am

[quote]The 'ultimate' sacrifice

By Trenton Daniel, Miami Herald Writer

A fallen soldier who was born in another country but died for this one in Iraq was buried Saturday.

Sgt. Jude Ralph Jonaus, a Haiti native who emigrated with his family to Miami as a teen, spent nine years with the U.S. Army before he was killed Sept. 6. Insurgents set off an explosive that caused his Humvee to topple.

Jonaus, one of seven children of Gernessoit and Amenia Jonaus, was 27.

Family members recalled Jonaus as a dutiful soldier who served his country well -- a job they said meant more to him than anything else. He joined the army in 1996 after he graduated from North Miami Senior High; he died in Iraq as a pharmacy technician.

The Armed Forces were ''Ralpho's'' raison d'tre, said cousin Jessica Phi


''He is the ultimate and true soldier, joining the service not for money or fame, but because he knew that it was the right thing to do,'' Philogene told mourners who gathered at St. Mary's Church. ``Most importantly he lived, breathed and died the Army.''

At the one-hour service, Father Reginald Jean-Mary, a prominent community pastor from the Notre Dame d'Haiti, told the more than 50 family members and friends they should remember that life is ephemeral.

Joana Philogene said Jonaus would be waiting for his family and friends in heaven.

''Let us not feed our loneliness with pain. But cherish his memories. For he would do the same,'' she read from the lectern. ``And there is comfort to know that our brother, friend, son, and mentor, Jude is waiting for us in the sky.''

As the service reached an end, several of the mourners burst into cries. Four men struggled to restrain a shaking and shrieking woman as they carried her o

Uniformed servicemen from the Army and Marines stood at attention in the back of the church. Some of them served as pallbearers.


Also killed in the attack that felled Jonaus was Sgt. Franklin Vilorio, a Dominican native who graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School. Jonaus and Vilorio -- both assigned to the Brigade Troops Battalion, Division Support Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga. -- are the eighth and ninth soldiers from Miami-Dade killed in action, according to the Pentagon. Nearly 1,900 members of the U.S. military have been killed since Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

After the service, Mona Germaine, the mother of a Marine sergeant who knew Jonaus, expressed her concerns about the safety of soldiers in Iraq, where they have protested the lack of equipment and armor. These days, she added, the erosion of support for the war means the fallen are being forgotten. ''

As a mom, I can tell you I want them out of there.
As a mom, I think it's very sad,'' Germaine said with her 31-year-old son, Yves Pascal Hamilton, at her side. ``You don't even hear their names anymore.''


Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:51 am

My question is this, how many more of our Children and Friends will die for this senseless War? Just to protect the interests of big Corporations.

I am wondering what would this be considered, If all soldiers would decide to not taking part of the war? Would they be punished under martial LAW?

They went to Iraq under false pretenses.

It would have been impossible for me to be a soldier. For, I wouldn't follow any General's orders while they're enjoying their nice air conditionned office room, away from any harm. And they will take credit for a job well done.

By the way, I wanted the discipline, but I could not take orders or the humiliation during BT (basic training) properly. That is why, I did not take the final test to the Army some times ago...
A lot of these soldiers joined for the so-called benefits...
IS it worth the Price?

Actually my questions are not for the US Arrmies alone. When a Haitia
n soldier has for assignment to Bale Wouze Cite Soley, while they are from the area. Why, can't they disagree with this order?

Ban m met van nan vwal mwen, male.



Post by Widy_ » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:56 am

Balan piblisite yo fè pa kote ti nèg rejioun an, sa paka etone-m ditou.

Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

(Haitian-American) Soldier from Brooklyn killed in Iraq

Post by Charles Arthur » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:12 am

Soldier from Brooklyn killed in Iraq
Eyewitness News

(Brooklyn - WABC, October 4, 2006) - A 26-year-old Army sergeant from Brooklyn is among the latest casualties of the war in Iraq.

The U.S. Defense Department says 26-year-old Mario Nelson died Sunday in an explosion in Hit, Iraq.

Nelson was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and came to the United States when he was eight years old. He attended Westinghouse High School. He stood 6-foot-3-inches tall and weighed 273 pounds, earning him the nickname "Big Mo."

His sister Sandra Nelson said he had been in Iraq about nine months and was expecting to come home in December.

Nelson leaves behind a wife, Mecca Nelson, and a 3-year-old daughter, Mia, who live in Germany.

Post Reply