FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Soldiers with Company F, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment were joined by the Fort Jackson community Monday as they paid tribute to a fallen comrade.
Pvt. Jonathan Morales, an 18-year-old Milwaukee native, died Aug. 20 following a road march.
He was scheduled to graduate with his peers this week.
Morales' leaders and fellow Basic Combat Training Soldiers described a hard-working Soldier with a "never give up" attitude.
Members of his platoon knew him as "Linebacker" -- a name given him because of his size.
"He was a Soldier with lots of potential, and he had the ability to be a great leader," said Staff Sgt. Maria Herrera, one of Morales' drill sergeants. "He met challenges daily, but would not hesitate to take them head on. Although he won't physically be on the field with us (this week), Pvt. Morales will be with us in our hearts."
Pvt. Leslie Rivera, who served in 2nd platoon with Morales, spoke of the friendship the two came to share during their time at BCT. She recalled his perseverance through difficult missions, as well as his upbeat personality.
"In our eyes, he was the perfect example of a Soldier," she said.
He was also the model of the Army's values, she said.
"He had the true definition of integrity in his heart."
Like the many others who spoke at the memorial service, Rivera said that Morales would be missed.
"He wanted to make a difference," she said. "He wanted to make a change and make a difference, and in my mind, he has done just that."
Morales is survived by his mother, Marisol Desarden, his father, Sebastian Morales and his sister, Odalyesse.
Post officials began an investigation Monday into Morales' death.