Sunday, May 18, 2008

Army Pfc. Howard A. Jones, Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Howard A. Jones, Jr., 35, Chicago

Pfc. Jones was assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. He died May 18, 2008 in Chicago from injuries sustained when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver while on leave from the Iraq theater of operations.

Jones, a private first class who was stationed in Ft. Riley, Kan., had been in Chicago for about a week after returning to the U.S. from Iraq in mid-April, according to his fiancee, Phyllis Olson, 36. The two were planning to marry and had recently been featured on a cable TV program about planning a wedding in their West Loop loft.

"After all that he went through, when he put himself in danger to serve our country and came out alive . . . for something so stupid and senseless to happen, it's just unbelievable," Olson said. "I'm in shock and I'm hurt and angry and I want him back."

Jones, an Evanston native who played football and ran track at Evanston Township High School, joined the military hoping to get some extra money to go back to school and was proud of the time he spent in Iraq, Olson said. Before he joined the Army, he worked as a security officer at a downtown building where he was remembered fondly, said Larry Rubin, a spokesman for the security agency, AlliedBarton.

After he returned from overseas, Jones told his fiance stories of getting to know Iraqis and recounted how as time progressed they would tell soldiers where explosive devices were buried. "He really was proud—he thought they did a lot of good over there. Toward the end [of his deployment], he thought the locals really grew to trust him," Olson said. She described stories he told of joking with Iraqi children and teaching them American phrases, which they would then repeat back to him.


Anonymous said...

Howard Jones, was and will always be a amazing man in my heart. He was one of my Soldiers, and not a day goes by I do not remember him... I'll get that GTO for us one day Jones...RIP

SSG Thomas

Alex said...

One of the best football players I ever saw. And a nice guy. Won the state 100 and 200 but was still friendly on the track. (I was on a rival HS track team