Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cpl. Jorge Villarreal, Jr., United States Marine Corps

Cpl. Jorge Villarreal, Jr., United States Marine Corps

Jorge Villarreal, Jr. was born in San Antonio, Texas on May 8, 1988 and died on October 17, 2010, at the age of 22, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Jorge graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in San Antonio, in 2006.   He was the back-bone of a close-knit group of friends who grew up together.  He was considered the peacemaker of the group, settling disputes among friends.  Jorge was a member of the National Honor Society and was the class treasurer.

Jorge enlisted in the United States Marines on February 12, 2007.  He deployed with the 15th Expeditionary Unit to the western Pacific in 2008.

At the time of his death, Jorge was a motor vehicle operator, assigned to 1st Battalion, 11th Marines.  Although this is an artillery unit, it has been assigned to protect the Kajaki Dam, a 320 foot high, 887 foot wide landmark in northeastern Helmand Province.  It was built in 1953 by the United States to provide hydroelectric power.  The unit has conducted not only artillery operations, but foot patrols as well.

On October 17 Cpl. Jorge Villarreal was on foot patrol with other members of his unit when he stepped on a land mine, becoming one of the 19 Marines to die in October, as if that time, in Afghanistan.

On Monday, October 25, funeral services were held at the Porter Loring Funeral Home in San Antonio.  In attendance were Patriot Guard Riders from the San Antonio area who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to the funeral home to welcome the arriving family and friends.

At the conclusion of the services, the Riders led the funeral procession of hundreds of cars, to the San Fernando Archdiocesan Cemetery for interment service with full military honors.

As the procession drove past  Kennedy High School, located across the street from the cemetery, hundreds of students lined the street in front of the school.

Waiting at the cemetery was a United States Marine Corps Honor Guard.  As the hearse came to the burial site, the Marines stood at attention and saluted their fallen comrade.  Cpl. Villarreal’s flag draped coffin was removed from the hearse by seven Marines and solemnly carried to the grave site.  The Patriot Guard Riders stood in a line of American flags and saluted.

Full military honors were rendered by the Marines.  A seven rifle detail fired three volleys of fire, representing Honor, Duty and Country.  The Marine bugler played taps.  The flag that had draped the coffin was then folded into a tight triangle and presented to Jorge’s wife, Reyna, on behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and a grateful nation, in thanks for his service to his country.  Folded flags were also presented to his mother and his father.

As the service came to a close, dozens of red, white and blue balloons were released into the clear blue sky.   The southerly winds carried them to the north, past  John F. Kennedy High School where Jorge graduated just four years ago.

His coffin was then lowered into the grave, and the hundreds of family and friends filed past the grave and dropped grains of sand onto the coffin.

Left to cherish his memory are his dear wife, his step-daughter Shia, his mother, Yolanda, his father, Jorge, a sister, two grandmothers and a grandfather, and numerous other dear family and friends, and to many fellow Marines to count.

Dozens of Jorge’s family and friends were wearing white tee shirts in honor of their Fallen Hero.  On the front, his picture, on the back, the poem “Footprints in the sand.”

Footprints in the sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

"You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.  But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.  Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?"

The Lord replied, "The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you."

With thanks to KENS-TV, Battle Rattle,, MySA, and KSAT-TV for historical and biographical background and photo of Cpl. Villarreal, taken on the day of his death.

Links to news stories.


  1. Thank you for the post, Major. Good work.

    I pray God to comfort the family and friends of this dear young man. I honor his service, and thank the Patriot Guard Riders for manning the rails for his departure.

  2. I would like to thank The Patriot Guard Riders for their presence and escorting us to the cemetery. My Family and I have suffered a great loss but we are proud that his sacrifice makes him a True American Hero! RIP JV Cpl. Jorge Villarreal Jr