KATY, TX, USA U.S. Army CPT, HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 12TH INFANTRY, FORT HOOD, TX BAGHDAD, IRAQ 05/29/2006
Captain James Alexander Funkhouser, Jr. was an American soldier who began and ended his life on foreign soil. He was born to Jim and Margaret Funkhouser in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan on 12 February 1971. He died in Baghdad, Iraq on 29 May 2006. It was Memorial Day!
Affectionately known as Alex, the intervening 35 years became a gift to his family, his friends, and his country. Alex was a typical teenager and graduated from Robert R. Taylor High School with the class of ’89. He loved the outdoors and his favorite activities included barbequing, golf, and hunting. After graduation, Alex enrolled in Stephen F. Austin State University to pursue a wildlife management degree. He left school in 1991, and served six years as an enlisted soldier (19K/Armor Crewman). Alex worked his way through the ranks to Staff Sergeant and then gained entry to the prestigious “Green to Gold Program” at Southwest Texas State University. He graduated in August 1999 with a degree in business management. On August 6, he accepted a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. Alex’s father, now a retired Army Colonel, administered the oath.
At university, Alex earned more than a degree and a commission. There he met Jennifer Garza and the two grew from classmates to life mates. They married on 20 May 2000. Their family grew with the welcome addition of daughters Kaitlyn and Allison. Alex deployed to Iraq in December 2005. The family stayed in touch through phone calls and email. They especially treasured their weekend webcam visits where the girls would model new outfits or haircuts.
Alex was the Headquarters Company Commander with the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. He died of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (humvee) during reconnaissance patrol operations on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. The incident drew global attention as it also killed CBS News camera operator Paul Douglas, soundman James Brolan, and Sam, an Iraqi interpreter. CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier and six other U.S. soldiers were injured.
Legions of family and friends miss Alex. His sacrifice is particularly hard on Jennifer and their daughters. Jennifer said that Kaitlyn and Allison “. . . will both know that their daddy went over there because he was doing his job.” Captain Alex Funkhouser – husband, father, and patriot – rests in Sec 25, Site 1081 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.