Army Pfc. Zachary G. Lovejoy
Died February 02, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
20, of Albuquerque, N.M.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device Feb. 2 in Zabul province, Afghanistan. Also killed was Capt. Daniel Whitten.
(Taken from www.koat.com of Feb. 4, 2010) Lovejoy was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Lovejoy graduated from La Cueva High School. His friends say he never met a stranger and tell us he was living his dream when he laid his life down for his country.
"He died doing something he wanted to do. He wanted to be a soldier and he wanted to be in the Army. He joined us his junior year in the program with the ultimate goal of joining the military," First Sgt. Alberto Griego said.
Lovejoy participated in Junior ROTC in high school where he made quite an impression on Griego, his instructor. He joined the military straight out of high school after playing football, wrestling and running track.
"Great individual, he'd give you the shirt off his back if he could. He'd help any student out regardless if you were in the ROTC program or not," Griego said.
Lovejoy, who was engaged, died Tuesday in Afghanistan. He's the first ROTC Cadet that Griego has taught who died in combat.
"But this one really hits home because this is one of mine, one of my kids. But it reminds me that I still have about another 30 or 40 cadets, former students that are in the military right now that are in harms way in Iraq and Afghanistan that this could happen to them as well," Griego said.
That's why Griego said he will continue to pray for the men and women serving this country, while he mourns the loss of a student, friend, and hero.
"There's no greater individual than that person that's willing to sacrifice their life for our nation. Zach is just a great individual and we're truly going to miss him," Griego said.
Lovejoy's family is currently at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware waiting for his body to return stateside, but his sister e-mailed Action 7 News a picture and a statement. Her statement is listed below:
I'm sending you mine and my parents favorite picture of him. He took it on his cellphone of himself right after his first jump during airborne school in January 2009 at Fort Benning, GA.
All we can say is that we are very proud of him. He lived out his dream of being an infantry soldier...that's what he always wanted to do with his life. Our prayers and thanks go out to all other service men and women who continue to serve our country.
Sincerely, Mike, Terry, and Ashley Lovejoy.