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Army Pvt. 2 Jonathan I. Falaniko

Died October 27, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Pago Pago, American Samoa; assigned to A Company, 70th Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; killed near the Khadra Police Station Oct. 27 when a vehicle containing an improvised explosive device detonated in downtown Baghdad.

Pvt. Jonathan I. Falaniko had been in the Army for only a few months. His father had served 26 years. Both were assigned to Iraq, and in October they spent two nights together and spoke to other family members by video conferencing.

“It was one of the proudest moments for my family. My son was pretty proud of his tour of duty,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ioakimo Falaniko.

The elder Falaniko spoke to his wife and two daughters in Germany again by video teleconference to tell them Jonathan died. The 20-year-old Falaniko was killed Oct. 25 when a bomb-laden vehicle blew up near him at a police station in downtown Baghdad. He was based at Fort Riley.

Although Falaniko was born in Germany, he claimed his parents’ home of American Samoa as his home. He had a tattoo on his arm with the word “Samoan,” his father said. “My son and I talked about the war. He and I understood the danger in our chosen profession,” Falaniko said.

— Associated Press

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