Monday, February 11, 2008

Army Staff Sgt. Javares J. Washington

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Javares J. Washington, 27, of Pensacola, Fla.

SSgt Washington was assigned to the 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Feb. 11, 2008 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait City, Kuwait, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident.

Pensacola News Journal -- The family of a Pensacola man who died serving in Kuwait remembered him Tuesday as a standout high school athlete, loyal son and family man.

Army Staff Sgt. Javares Washington's family said he was killed Sunday in a vehicle accident. Washington's family was notified Monday.

Washington, 27, was best known locally for his days at Escambia High School, where he played football and was also on the track team.

The former running back graduated in 1999 and left Pensacola for Flagstaff, Ariz., to play football on a full scholarship at Northern Arizona University.

He left the university the following season because his scholarship was cut, Washington's mother, Felicia Smith, said.

Escambia High's former football coach Ronnie Gilliland had a close relationship with Washington. Gilliland's son, Brett Gilliland, who played quarterback on the team, was Washington's high school buddy.

"It's been real tough," Ronnie Gilliland said of Washington's death. "My wife was real close to him. He was just a real likeable young man."

Washington decided to join the military after leaving college, following in the footsteps of his brother.

"He enjoyed it," said Washington's stepfather, Roy Smith. "It showed and taught him a lot of things. It gave him independence."

Washington, who was stationed in Kentucky, left for Kuwait Sept. 7.

"He went by and visited everybody he knew because he knew he was coming home, but it wasn't going to be any time soon," his stepfather said. "We definitely didn't expect him not to come home at all."

Washington called his family as often as he could after leaving for Kuwait. Washington's parents spent Tuesday remembering the good times they shared with their son while being comforted by family and friends.

"I want to remember Javares when he was home, before he went to Kuwait," Felicia Smith said.

Washington's wife, Letrica, 28, his daughter, Tristyne, 9 months, and stepson, Mekhi, 7, plan to arrive in Pensacola later this week from Kentucky. Washington also leaves behind another son, Jayden, 6, of Pensacola and four siblings, including two stepbrothers.

Army Staff Sgt. Javares J. Washington was killed in a vehicle accident on 2/11/08.

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