By Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJune 30, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas - Fellow Soldiers, friends and family member came to the 1st Cavalry Division Memorial Chapel June 18, to pay respects to three, young Grewolf Soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.
Spc. Jake Velloza, a Fire Support specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div., and Jeremiah McCleery, also a Fire Support specialist assigned to Company D, 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt., were both were killed in action May 2 in Mosul, Iraq.
Spc. Shawn Sykes, a Food Service specialist assigned to Co. E, 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt., died May 7, in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany from injuries sustained while in Iraq.
"For these three, young men, they have paid the ultimate price in service to our country," said Col. Jeffrey Sauer, the 1st Cav. Div. Rear Detachment commander. "We owe them an unlimited flow of gratitude and thanks."
All three men had multiple Iraqi deployments under their belt and were, by all accounts, great Soldiers.
"There were missions going on at all hours of the day and night, but there was always something for the guys to eat when they returned," said Spc. Gregory Darnell, a friend of Sykes'.
Sykes, who was from Portsmouth, Va., was serving in his fourth tour in Iraq. He started his military career in the Marine Corps in 1999 after graduating from high school.
In 2005, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2005, and was assigned to his current unit. He deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08, where he served in six different combat outposts. Last December, he deployed with his unit back to Mosul, Iraq.
Sykes awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one knot, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.
He is survived by his mother, Marion Cotton, his father, Sylvester Sykes, and his five sisters.
Velloza, who was born in Inverness, Calif., wanted to be a Soldier growing up. He enlisted at 19 and was assigned to the 1st Cav. Div. after training. He first deployed to Iraq during OIF 06-08 with Co. C, 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt.
"I had the privilege of serving with Jake last tour near Baqubah, Iraq," said Capt. Russell Toll, who serves as 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt.'s Rear Detachment commander. "It remains my greatest honor to have fought alongside a man of such courage and ability."
Velloza's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with two stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Combat Action Badge.
He is survived by his parents Robers and Susan Velloza.
McCleery, who was born in Portola, Calif., also wanted to be a Soldier growing up. He enlisted in 2007 and arrived to the 1st Bn., 12th Cav. Regt.
He was honored May 19 in Congress by Congressman Tom McClintoch, of California, who said, "I don't know how to offer condolenses to Miah McCleery's family; The loss they bear is beyond my comprehension.'
'I can only offer my awe and gratitude that humanity has within itself a small band of brothers like Jeremiah McCleery who step forward not for treause or profit nor even to defend their own freedom but rathe to win the freedom of a people half a world away. And they do it because their country asks and because it is virtuous and noble."
McCleery's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal , Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Combat Action Badge.
He is survived by his father Joe McCleery and his sister Chastity Sumbrano.
Sauer ended his address by admitted that although the day was difficult, and that they recognized the "extreme" cost of service, that they all should be grateful for young men and women who make decisions to serve at such a young age who are willing to put the welfare of others before their own.
Said Sauer, "Their example sets the legacy for future generations that service to our country is a necessity and must be done to preserve all we cherish."