Monday, March 31, 2008

Army Sgt. Dayne D. Dhanoolal

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Dayne D. Dhanoolal, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sgt. Dhanoolal was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died March 31, 2008 in Baghdad from wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Newsday -- When she saw the uniformed Army personnel at her home in Georgia this week, Yvonne Watkins knew a grim message was to be delivered, her daughter said Thursday night.

But with a son serving in Afghanistan and a son-in-law in Iraq, the anxiety felt doubly heartrending.

"She just fell to the floor," Kynesha Dhanoolal said. "She did not know who it was for."

The fallen soldier was Dhanoolal's husband, Sgt. Dayne Dhanoolal.

The 26-year-old combat engineer had just re-enlisted in January for another four years. "He just felt like it would be the best thing for us and our future family," said Kynesha Dhanoolal, 28.

Just a few months later, on March 31, Dayne Dhanoolal, who went by the name Darren, was dead in Baghdad after a bomb placed by his vehicle exploded, the Defense Department said yesterday in a statement.

Dhanoolal, who was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Benning, Ga., was originally from Trinidad and Tobago and traveled from the Caribbean to New York City when he was a teenager, living in Brooklyn and attending New Dorp High School in Staten Island.

Dhanoolal joined the Army in September 2002 and over the years had earned more than a dozen awards, including a combat action badge and three Army commendation medals, according to Michelle Gordon, a Fort spokeswoman.

Just hours before his death, Dhanoolal said, she received an electronic message from her husband after having not heard from him in some time. He wrote that everything was OK and that he loved her.

Later that day, Dhanoolal learned she was a widow.

"Everything got taken away," Kynesha Dhanoolal said.

Dayne Dhanoolal is survived by his parents and three sisters, including one deployed to the nation where her brother was killed.

Funeral plans are pending.

Trinidad & Tabago Express -- Just three weeks before he was scheduled to return from Iraq, Trinidadian-born US soldier, Sergeant Dayne Dhanoolal, was killed in Baghdad.

Dhanoolal, 26, died of massive injuries when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle on Monday, the US Department of Defence said in a statement.

Dhanoolal was originally from Acono Road, St Joseph, before he migrated to New York 11 years ago.

Dhanoolal, who joined the US Army six years ago, was a combat engineer with the 3rd Brigade in Fort Benning, Georgia. He was supporting "Operation Iraqi Freedom". His older sister, Sergeant First Class Jillene Fenton, is on her fourth tour in Iraq.

Dhanoolal, the only son from five children, was the youngest.

In a statement yesterday, his sister, Darlene Dhanoolal, said, "This is a tough time for our family because we always knew this was a possibility, but we never imagined that it would happen."

Darlene added, "He was the type of person that left a happy memory wherever he went. No matter the situation he always tried to make the best of it."

"We will forever remember his gigantic grin... we know that you (Dayne) are definitely smiling down from heaven at us.

"You are gone but you will always be missed, loved and always remembered forever in our hearts."

Reports in the New York Post said three hours before Dhanoolal was killed, he text-messaged his 28-year-old wife, Kynesha, to tell her he loved her. It was the last thing he said to her.

The couple, who got married three weeks before he first went overseas, had been together over Christmas, before he had to return to Iraq, the paper reported.

Army Sgt. Dayne D. Dhanoolal was killed in action on 3/31/08.

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