FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - In life, 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom was a known as a demanding leader who worked hard to ensure the well-being of his men and to foster a sense of teamwork among the troops.
The courage of the young leader would be put to the test when he was sent off to war in the combat zone of Wanat, Afghanistan, where he fought a fierce battle against outnumbered enemy forces - on July 13. Brostrom, and eight other Soldiers gave their lives that day when they paid the ultimate sacrifice to save their "battle-buddies" and repel the attack on their remote outpost.
Brostrom was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions.
His actions ensured the enemy did not take control of the outpost and helped save the lives of countless troops stationed in the base. The people of Hawaii suffered a loss with Brostrom's death, but servicemembers and community officials paid tribute one last time to the fallen hero with a newly opened community center Dec. 15 at Fort Shafter.
"The center opening is a joyous occasion but it also incorporates a solemn character," said Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii. "We are proud and honored to dedicate this facility to our fallen son, 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, who heroically sacrificed his own life to save the lives of the Soldiers he was leading in combat operations in Afghanistan."
The facility provides residents a 1,200-square foot aquatic center, which includes a 25-meter lap pool, children's sand pool, and spray park. It's the first of just two family Army Hawaii Family Housing community centers that will have a pool.
"It dawned on me as I looked around the significance of this place as it pertains to most of the life of Jon," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, Commanding General, U.S. Army, Pacific. "Take a moment as you look out in the distance. You see the water, the ocean, the land, and it's beauty and what it will mean for Soldiers and families for years to come - what a great tribute to a Soldier and son."
Brostrom worked as a lifeguard in Pearl Harbor for Morale, Welfare and Recreation while he was in High School and later college, which makes the center fitting for his dedication.
"Jon made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and his fellow Soldiers, he was on the front lines of the War on Terrorism defending our freedoms that we all enjoy today and that all will enjoy who come to this site. He is a true hero among heroes," Mixon said.
The community center will provide an environment to make friends and take care of the military community. The symbolic pulling of the ribbon and the opening of the doors, ensure that the memory of Brostrom will never be forgotten and taking care of Soldiers will continue for years to come.