Sunday, April 11, 2010

Army Spc. Joseph T. Caron

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Joseph T. Caron, 21, of Tacoma, Wash.

Spc. Caron was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died April 11, 2010 in Char Bagh, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Joseph T. Caron was headstrong and driven, the kind of guy who knew what he wanted to do and did it. More than anything else, he wanted to be in the military. It was his career of choice.

He came from a family with a long history of military and law-enforcement duty; both his father and grandfather had served.

"He wanted to be just like his dad, just like his papa," said his uncle, Patrick Caron, a construction worker in Roy, Pierce County.

Because the two were so close in age, Patrick, who is 24, knew Spc. Caron — or "Joey," as he was called — more as a brother than as his nephew. Along with Spc. Caron's younger brother Josh, "we were always getting in trouble together, getting spanked together, always doing stuff we weren't supposed to," he said.

Growing up, they were outdoors boys, he said, their minds often meandering toward thoughts of hunting, camping or paintball.

Spc. Caron enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from Spanaway's Washington High, where he'd wrestled and played football. He rooted for the NFL's Denver Broncos and loved to fish.

"He didn't like to lose, didn't like to come in second," his uncle said.

Spc. Caron talked about going to college someday with Army assistance. Sometime down the road, he talked of maybe becoming a law-enforcement officer in small-town Montana.

During a leave last summer, Spc. Caron, along with his father and uncle, went fishing on the Columbia River and exhibited the competitive nature that for many defined his character. "He had to outdo everybody, had to catch the biggest fish out of the three of us," Patrick Caron said.

At day's end, it was Jeffrey Caron, Spc. Caron's father, who was certain he'd landed the top prize. But sure enough, when the fish were put on the scale, "Joey had the biggest one out of 12 people on the boat. That put a big smile on his face."

On his Facebook page, Spc. Caron chronicled his grueling military experience, honoring fallen comrades and dropping tidbits of inspirational military lore. On Sunday, he said he'd forgotten what it was like to sleep. His last post was a snippet from a song by the Steve Miller Band.

"He was a good soldier," Patrick Caron said. "He knew the risks. He had accepted those risks. He just wanted to fight his way through it."

"Spc. Caron was loved by his fellow Paratroopers and leaders alike," said Capt. Adam W. Armstrong, commander of Bravo Company, 2-508th PIR. "Always there with a joke when you needed it most and always putting forth 110 percent with fiery intensity, we knew we could depend on him in times when he was needed most."

Caron enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in August 2007, attended airborne school at Ft. Benning, Ga., and then reported to Ft. Bragg. He deployed to southern Afghanistan in September, according to the Pentagon.

While he never was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in his home town, he was killed in a place and in a manner that's become all-too-familiar for local Stryker soldiers and their loved ones. The Arghandab Valley, a violent area of Kandahar province, is where several members of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division have been wounded or killed, mostly in bombings.

Caron's survivors include his father, Jeffrey Caron; his mother, Tani Hubbard; stepmother, Karen Caron; sister, Cassandra Caron; and brother Josh Caron.

Army Spc. Joseph T. Caron was killed in action on 4/11/10.

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