FAR ROCKAWAY, NY, USA
SGT, COMPANY C, 1ST BATTALION, 26TH INFANTRY, SCHWEINFURT, GERMANY
BAGHDAD, IRAQ 06/21/2007
Alphonso Junior Montenegro II enlisted in the Army in 2002 after graduating from Far Rockaway High School, in Far Rockaway, N.Y. According to Department of Defense records, Montenegro was promoted to the rank of sergeant in October of 2006.
Though deployed on Mother’s Day 2007, Montenegro called his mother and arranged for flowers to be delivered to her. He called again on June 9, his 22nd birthday. He was thrilled that a package from home had arrived that very day. “Candy and potato chips,” said his mother, Sandra Montenegro. “He called to say thank you. He was so happy.” Montenegro was killed just weeks later, on June 21, 2007, by an explosive in Baghdad. He was assigned to Schweinfurt, Germany. His mother still called him Fofo. “When he was little, he couldn’t say ‘Alphonso,’ He said, ‘Fofo,’ so we kept that name for him forever,” she said.
During his tenure in the Army, Montenegro earned a Combat Infantryman Badge in 2004 and an Army Commendation Medal. The commendation medal was earned because of Montenegro’s exhibiting “tactical and technical competence as a team leader.” On the day he died, he volunteered to go out on tour. “The commander said he was always there for the other soldiers,” she said. “And he saved many lives. All his friends are devastated just like us, because that was his family there.” In December, before shipping out, Montenegro, who usually did not like to have his picture taken, made a request. “He told me he wanted a picture of us together,” his mother said.
Mongenegro received a Purple Heart for wounds received and a Bronze Star for bravery posthumously. When presenting the medals to Montenegro’s mother, Brig. Gen. Arthur Bartell called the fallen Montenegro a hero. But it was not wartime service that made Montenegro a hero to his sister Jennifer. It was his character that did the trick. Jennifer described her brother as a man who gave his all for his family. “He was so special. Since our dad left, he took it upon himself to be responsible and teach us what we’re supposed to do. He taught the right values,” she said. “To me he was my father. He always took care of me, he took care of everyone and especially our mom.”