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The “U.S. Soldier” (An ASP Exclusive) [UPDATE]
[Final UPDATE] Alex was laid to rest at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetary in San Antonio on Friday. Haystack was there and wrote an excellent post about the day. He’s also included an article from one of the soldiers from his unit. To highlight my favorite part:
We [haystack and Patriot Guard Riders] stood guard until Capt. Funkhouser’s body had been placed in the hearse, and she had been escorted into the family car to take the Capt. “home”. As this was going on, their 2 little daughters were brought over near us to await the next cars that would take them to the reception afterwards, designated to take place on base at Ft. Sam Houston. They were standing about 5 feet away from me, everyone telling the girls how pretty they looked in their matching dresses; they pirhouetting about showing off their dresses and shoes. The youngest was then picked up and hugged and kissed, and she said to another family member “Daddy’s with God now”, as matter of factly as any 2 yeard old I have ever been around. My wife started to cry, my eyes welled up with these same tears, and I thought this was perhaps the most telling moment of the entire service. This little girl had lost her Father, her sister and her mother and all the relatives and soldiers had suffered this loss, but they stood proud, showed grace and dignity, held their heads up high, said goodbye to a wonderful Father and Son and Husband, and began the business of picking up the pieces and moving forward; with the grace of God.
Go read the rest HERE.
[UPDATE4] I didn’t want this to get buried in the comments section as the post gets pushed down. If you’re in the San Antonio area:
My husband Alex will be laid to rest with full military honors at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetary in San Antonio, TX on Friday, June 9th at 9 AM. I have just finished making the arrangements. It’s going to be a wonderful ceremony with a great celebration afterwards. Thank you to eveyone for all the support that I’ve received from family, friends, soldiers and strangers from around the country. I know Alex is just one of many, but maybe his death has and will force others to stop and notice when another soldier dies instead of barely paying attention to it in the news. I think that we are all starting to become immune to all of the death there and everywhere else. Iraq has been in our lives for the past few years and the deaths just don’t seem to be as important now. Please don’t let that happen. Take the time to notice another soldier fallen. Remember Alex and know that the next soldier is probably someone just like him.
CJ – Thanks again for posting Alex’s story.
Everone else – Keep remembering. I know that something good has to come from this.
Alex – If you can hear me: ROCK ON!!! (A little inside joke)
The Patriot Guard Riders will be present to ensure that no would-be religious idiots show up to screw with our heroes. Being from S.A., I wish I could be there personally. Jennifer, your husband’s funeral is in good hands.
[UPDATE3] Willing to eat my words, I’m proud to say that CNN aired a very good story about Alex as told by his wife, Jennifer and father, James Funkhouser Sr. HERE. Thank you, Kim, for the link. Also, if you haven’t done so recently, read the comments to this post. Many family members of Alex’s family have posted.
[UPDATE2] A memorial fund has been set up for CPT Funkhouser’s family:
Children of Captain Funkhouser
Attn: Billie Jean Higginbotham
20045 Katy Freeway
Katy, TX 77450
[UPDATE] I wanted to add a little more information that I’ve been given about Alex’s life and share a picture that was sent to me. In the words of one of his friends, Kim, growing up:
When we were kids Alex was famous for getting the other neighborhood kids together and playing “Army”—-he was always the “Commander” (I guess because his Dad had lots of Army stuff at home) and I was always the “Nurse” because my mom was a nurse and had lots of bandgages, gauze etc. for us to use. I was always there to “patch them up” and send them back out there to fight the “bad guys” ……I wish I could do that know……patch him up to bring him home to enjoy life with Jennifer, Katy, Allison, Jim and Margaret.
I had been in contact with him during this deployment. He was always so thankful for the support of him and his men. I am going to honor his memory by continuing to support his men.
I’ve harped on how the media has gushed about the fact that two journalists died in Iraq and glossed over the soldier who died. I know that the military won’t immediately release names until the families, but the media doesn’t even attempt to explain this.
After a call to US Army public affairs, I was able to confirm that the anonymous “U.S. soldier” who died on Tuesday was CPT James A. Funkhouser Jr., affectionately known as Alex. He was named after his father, James A. Funkhouser Sr., a 31 year retired Army veteran.
Alex was born in Okinawa, Japan, while his parents were stationed there. Growing up he was an active child. His father told me that he “liked doing things.” He read a lot and was just a normal boy. Between the ages of two and twelve, he lived in California. Then they moved to Texas. Alex fell in love with Texas, who wouldn’t?
He joined the Army in 1993 as an enlisted soldier and worked his way through the ranks to Staff Sergeant. He then took a Green to Gold scholarship and in 1999 was commissioned into the Armor Corps as a Lieutenant into the US Army by his father.
In January 2006, Alex deployed with 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He served as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander and was dual hatted in charge of training the Iraqi Army. According to emails received last Friday and a phone call on Sunday to his wife, things were going well.
On Monday, Alex’s wife Jennifer returned with the kids and her parents from Corpus Christi. As she was getting their two daughters, Kaitlyn, 4, and Allison, 2, settled down and ready for bed there was a knock at the door. Opening the door, Jennifer was greeted by soldier in their dress uniform there to notify her that her husband had been killed in Iraq.
Capt. James A. Funkhouser, 35, of Katy, Texas, died in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 29, of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during reconnaissance patrol operations. He leaves behind his wife and two daughters.
Alex was in the business of helping people. He was directly responsible for ensuring that the Iraqi security forces were trained and operational so that other soldiers could go home sooner than later. He loved his job and the military profession. It is people like him that Iraqi citizens have to thank for freedom. It’s people like him who we Americans have to thank for our freedoms. Those same freedoms we often for granted, forgetting the sacrifices that make them possible.
While I was talking with Alex’s father on the phone, he mentioned that CNN was in the living room speaking with Jennifer. Having not been very impressed with CNN, I’m anxious to see what spin they put on the story. I just want to put a name and a face behind the “U.S. soldier” that died in that blast protecting journalists. The same profession that hasn’t publicly thanked him for all that he did while they were alive. I’m thanking him now.
To Alex’s family, I have never lost a family in combat, so I cannot feel your pain. I’ve lost friends and fellow soldiers who only minutes before their deaths were watching my back as I watched theirs. I truly hope that you understand the honorable sacrifice you have made and never forget that Alex’s death was not in vain. History will forever be grateful for the mission he was on when God took him from this earth to help greet other soldiers coming home. May God bless you in your time of suffering. If there’s anything I can do, please feel free to contact me.
Please spread the word and link this as far and wide as possible. It’s about time the world knew the name of the “U.S. soldier” killed alongside those journalists.