MIAMI, FL, US
SPC, CO B, 4TH BN, 23RD INF REGT, 2ND SBCT, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA
06/02/2012, KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN
PFC DeRonde, a lifelong resident of Jersey City, joined the Army in 2011 to help support his family after his mother died. Relatives say Leroy became a model soldier.
According to his family, after basic training, Leroy was one of a handful of graduates to have been immediately promoted to a Private E2.
“He’d been so quiet, but he knew everyone, they knew his name,” according to his half-sister, Jennifer Owen. “In six months, he really came out of his shell.”
PFC LeRoy DeRonde III came into his own, finally distancing himself from a hard-luck childhood and proudly stepping up to care for his family. The 22-year-old Jersey City man recognized that the military was a way to do just that in a plan that began to form when his mother, Elizabeth, died of cancer. Her absence shook the family, and profoundly influenced Leroy.
“He realized he was going to put the family on his shoulders. The military was his calling to do that financially,” explained Jason Owen, DeRonde’s cousin. “From the time he decided that, it was full steam ahead.” PFC DeRonde made a plan that required groundwork. He earned his GED and the 15 college credits which were required for joining the Army. He completed this in January 2011. Leroy DeRonde was the kind of person who, when he figured out where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do, nothing could stop him.
PFC Leroy DeRonde was an extraordinary human being.