Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Victor Fontanilla remembered

Army Pfc. Victor Michael Fontanilla, 23, a native of Stockton and the pride of Micronesia, won't get to see his 2-year-old son, Kila, or his unborn second son grow up.

Fontanilla became the ninth Stockton soldier killed in Afghanistan or Iraq when an improvised roadside bomb took his life in Iskandariya, Iraq, on May 17. Two other U.S. soldiers died with him. He became the 21st member of the military with ties to San Joaquin County to die during the wars.

We honor his independent spirit, patriotism, love of country and heritage, and devotion to his family.

Born at San Joaquin General Hospital, Fontanilla grew up in Stockton with an admiring younger brother, 16-year-old Lee Castro.

After attending local schools, Fontanilla left Stockton to live with his mother and graduate from Tinian High School in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

He returned to Stockton when he was 18, enrolled at San Joaquin Delta College, and married Lincoln High School graduate Noel Mokuahi, 21, on Oct. 23, 2004.

Fontanilla was devoted to his family.

His MySpace profile - www.myspace.com/mykal826 - is filled with pictures and tributes to his wife and child.

Says Mokuahi on the MySpace page: "I am married to a great man ... my Michael. He's the one and only in my life."

Fontanilla joined the Army two years ago to support his family. He was a motor transport operator assigned to the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

His wife and child had been living in Alaska during his deployment, and Fontanilla was scheduled to return home in a few weeks for the birth of their second child.

"This tragedy is not borne by Victor's family alone," said Del. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam. "The people of Tinian and all the other islands of the Marianas grieve with them."

So do San Joaquin County residents and all Americans.

From the Stockton Record

Related Link:
Victor M. Fontanilla dies of 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'