Monday, September 17, 2007

Jonathan Rivadeneira dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations'

Naperville native Heather Nied might never have met her husband if the two had not joined the military. But because of his service, the pair will never hold one another again.

"It's going to be really hard for me to put my uniform on and go to drill knowing that my husband died in his," said Nied, 21, who has been staying with her family in Naperville since his deployment.

Nied's husband, Spec. Jonathan Rivadeneira, 22, was killed Friday alongside three other Army soldiers in Baghdad, the Department of Defense said.

He was fatally injured when a bomb went off near his vehicle during combat, the department's Web site stated.

In March 2004 Nied and Rivadeneira, of Jackson Heights, N.Y., met at boot camp; it was the Army for him, the National Guard for her. They both joined the military to earn money for college.

By the time they started 16 weeks of medic training, they were best friends.

"We did all of our training together," Nied said.

Shortly after they finished, Nied invited him to visit her family in Naperville. He called her after he left.

"He said: 'Come to Texas. I want to marry you,' " Nied recalled.

She moved to Ft. Hood, Texas, where Rivadeneira was stationed. They were married in April 2005.

He was deployed Oct. 2, 2006. A medic in Iraq, Rivadeneira accompanied soldiers every time they left the base.

"He was always really interested in just taking care of his soldiers," Nied said.

His dream was to come back and become an anesthetic nurse. He was scheduled to come home next month.

"He was my hero and he always will be," Nied said. "He was always really courageous. He inspired me and taught me so much. I will never meet anyone else like him. He was everything to me."

From the Chicago Tribune