TEMPLE, TX, USA U.S. Army SPC, COMPANY H, 2D BN, 11TH ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT (2MEF), FORT IRWIN, CA AL ASAD, IRAQ 11/24/2005
Army Specialist (Spc.) Javier Villanueva, 25, was a combat medic with the Army 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, from Waco, Texas. He died in Asad, Iraq, from injuries sustained in action on November 24, 2005-Thanksgiving Day, within one month of his return home. He was laid to rest in Waco Memorial Park South in Waco, Texas, leaving behind a wife, Felicia, and one-year old daughter, Taliyah; his parents Christine Lebron and Wilfredo Villanueva; his brothers David, Carlos, and Wilfredo; and many family and friends. Javi was a reserved, serious, but fun-loving father.
Javi was born on August 22, 1980 and graduated in 1998 from La Vega High School, Waco, Texas, then stayed in Waco to attend Texas State Technical College for two years. After moving to Temple, Texas, he met his match: Felicia Owens. They were married on May 15, 2003, and later had a daughter, Taliyah Ann.
He joined the Army in September 2003. After completing basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he reported to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for advanced individual training as a 91W health care specialist. His first duty station was at Fort Irwin, California. He was assigned to Iraq in January 2005 as a combat medic, where he died in the line of duty eleven months later. In honor of his sacrifice, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the State Capitol flags to be flown at half staff. Subsequently, during the 2007 Veteran’s Day commemoration, President George W. Bush honored Spc. Villanueva during an emotional Fallen Soldier Memorial Ceremony at the American Legion Post and Unit 121 in Waco, Texas, which ended with singing “God Bless America” and playing taps.
Javi embodied the spirit of the west, whether his native Texas or his assigned California. He was a real cowboy in modern garb. “Although he was quiet, he was also charismatic,” said Jason Keys, a former classmate. Villanueva’s family remembers his sense of humor emerging when he and his cousins recorded CDs of themselves rapping-and his unique sense of style in demanding the latest Air Jordan shoes: “Whenever they would come out with some of those Air Jordans, they’d be the first ones at the store, at like 6 a.m. so they could go to school that same day with new Jordans,” said his mother, Christine Lebron, of her oldest son. His aunt, Linda Villanueva says “He was a good kid. He wasn’t perfect, of course, but he was a good kid.” She said he had a unique sense of style, disdaining any dress codes: “He didn’t care how he dressed,” said his aunt; “He was all mismatched.”