Military officials have confirmed the death of a local solider in Iraq.
In a Wednesday news release from the Department of Defense, Private First Class David R. Jones Jr., of St. Johnsville, “died Oct. 24 at Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat incident.”
An official with the Defense Department said “the circumstances are currently under investigation.”
The official also said he did not have any information on whether an autopsy has been performed and declined to comment on any further questions.
Jones, 21, joined the military in October 2009 as a cannon crew member. He was assigned to the Howitzer Battery 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas, in March. He deployed to Iraq for his first tour of duty to support Operation New Dawn in August. He was a 2008 graduate of St. Johnsville High School and was active on local sports teams.
Fort Hood’s website lists several awards and decorations for Jones. They include the National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with combat service star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Gov. David A. Paterson directed all flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday in honor of Jones in an e-mail Wednesday.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers I join the friends, family and fellow soldiers of Private First Class Jones in mourning his death,” said Paterson in his e-mail. “This fine, young man died while in service to his comrades and his country. Though we mourn his passing, we will honor his service, his dedication and his memory.”
According to the Enea Family Funeral Home website, final funeral arrangements will be made and a complete obituary will appear once Jones’ body is flown home.
Dan Enea, funeral home director, said they expect Jones’ body to arrive at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome either Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Remembrances placed on the website for Jones included this comment from Travis Heiser, “I will remember David for his humor and positive outlook in life. No matter how bad things seemed to be going David would always find something to say to put everything in perspective. HE IS A TRUE HERO and will be greatly missed by all!!!”