Monday, August 30, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, 30, of Cypress, Texas

SSgt. Infante was assigned to 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Aug. 30, 2010 in the Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed in the attack were Army Pfc. Chad D. Clements, Army Capt. Dale A Goetz, Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler and Army Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West.

On Wednesday, an American flag decorated with black ribbon hung from the roof of a carport in front of the Infante family's north Houston home. In the living room, the soldier's father, Jesus Infante, watched with red-rimmed eyes as a TV cameraman set up a tripod and studio light near the front door.

The 50-year-old welder and painter braced himself for another interview. He hadn't slept much since Army officials showed up at 11:30 Monday night to announce his son's death. "He called me once from over there to let me know he was OK," Jesus Infante said. "He loved it."

"We were worried, but he said nothing was going to happen," Nancy Infante said. "He said he was going to be fine, but of course ... " She shrugged, her eyes brimming with tears.

The mother of Infante's unborn son, Angelica Gonzalez, lives in Colorado and could not be reached.

Jesse Infante was born and raised in Houston, the oldest of five siblings. He graduated in 1999 from Sam Houston High School, where he joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He enlisted in the Army in January 2000 and served a combat tour in Iraq from December 2005 to December 2006. Infante planned to spend his career in the Army. He hoped to become a drill sergeant someday, his relatives said.

"His dad wanted to convince him to get out already, but he wanted to stay in because he loved it," his stepmother said. "He wanted to convince his younger brother to go in," she added. "He's 20. He was thinking about it, but he got really upset when he heard the news" of his big brother's death.

Jesus Infante hopes that someday his son's children will understand their father's sacrifice.

"He was a great man, a great soldier," Nancy Infante said. "He was out there fighting for all of us and we're all going to miss him."

Infante graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1999. He enlisted in the Army in January 2000 and previously had served a combat tour in Iraq from December 2005 to December 2006. He deployed to Afghanistan on July 25. He was trained as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist.

"He wanted to make the military, the army, his career, he said he was gonna retire from there, we tried to convince him to get out, but he said no," said Nancy Infante.

His parents described him as an extremely kind person. "He was a great dad, a great son, he was great with his brothers, a real good brother and he was a great man," said Jesus Infante.

Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante was killed in action on 8/30/10.

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