Friday, June 29, 2007

Jimy Malone remembered

WILLS POINT - The giant flag raised above Veteran's Memorial Park billowed at half- staff Wednesday afternoon, a solemn reminder that one more soldier has made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, Leslie Malone received the news that every military wife dreads: her husband, Staff Sgt. Jimy Malone, was dead.

Sgt. Malone, 23, and three of his fellow soldiers died Saturday afternoon in Taji, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated under their Humvee.

Mrs. Malone was at home with her parents when two Army officers came to the door to give her the terrible news.

"As a military wife, you know why they've come," she said.

She'd spoken to Sgt. Malone only six hours before. She said the conversation was normal, and that he promised to call her the next day. When she didn't hear from him, she wasn't concerned. She said he often got called out on missions and phoned whenever he had time.

Sgt. Malone was in the middle of his second Iraq tour. He deployed on Oct. 30, 2006, and was supposed to come back to Texas in January 2008.

The last time he saw his family was February, when he came home for two weeks to see his brand new baby, Reagan.

"He loved her so much. He couldn't be more proud to be a daddy," Mrs. Malone said.

One night during his two-week leave, Mrs. Malone realized her husband hadn't come to bed. She found him wide awake in the living room, and when she asked why he was up, he said, "I knew if I went to bed, I wouldn't hear Reagan. I wanted to do it all."

Sgt. Malone did try to do it all, his wife said.

"I never knew anyone who could G.I. a diaper."

Sgt. Malone was G.I. from a very young age. His grandmother, Monah Malone, said he talked about joining the military after watching "Top Gun" as a boy. He picked a specific branch - the army - in seventh grade and followed through on his dream after finishing high school.

"We knew from the time he enlisted that he was going to be a career soldier," Mrs. Malone said.

Sgt. Malone served with the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry. In his first tour of duty, which lasted from March 13, 2004 - March 13, 2005, he was part of a tank unit stationed in Sadr City, a suburb of Baghdad. He crossed paths with an IED during his first tour too, but thankfully no one was injured.

Mrs. Malone never expected a second IED would take her husband's life, but she said she was prepared nevertheless.

"Jimy and I discussed at length what he wanted, and that's what we're doing," she said. "He wanted full military all the way."

Sgt. Malone's family must wait for his body to return to the United States before making funeral plans. However, they have decided to lay his body to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Mrs. Malone said the Army has been a great support to her. She also credits her family and the community for giving her strength during some very dark hours.

"I know it'll be okay. I'm sad, but it'll be okay," she said.

Sgt. Malone will forever stand as a hero to his family.

"If I could turn out to be half of what my brother was, I'll be very happy," said Marcus Malone, Sgt. Malone's younger brother.

Marcus Malone is a private first-class in the Army. He said he enlisted because he wanted to do the same thing as his brother.

"He was always teaching me about being a good man and being the best I could be," he said.

Pfc. Malone was scheduled to go to Iraq on July 22.

Those plans are postponed for now, but he says he's ready to serve.

"I will go and do what my brother started."

From the Morning Telegraph

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