In the clear, autumn chill Tuesday morning two 3rd ID soldiers were remembered in a tree dedication ceremony at Warriors Walk along Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.
Spc. John Carrillo Jr., 20, of Stockton, Calif., and Pfc. Gebrah P. Noonan, 26, of Watertown, Conn., were fatally shot on Sept. 23 in Fallujah, Iraq. Carrillo and Noonan were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. The 4th brigade deployed to Iraq in July.
One of their fellow 4th brigade soldiers, Spc. Neftaly Platero, 32, of Houston, Texas, is accused of murder in their shooting deaths and of attempted murder for shooting and wounding a third unnamed soldier. Platero is being held in pre-trial confinement in Kuwait, according to U.S. Forces-Iraq, based in Baghdad. The shooting, which is believed to have occurred following a verbal altercation, is still under investigation.
Carrillo and Noonan arrived at Fort Stewart in May 2010. This deployment to Iraq was their first, said Fort Stewart spokesperson Kevin Larson.
In subdued and poetic language, 3rd ID deputy commander Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips eulogized Noonan and Carrillo, touching on the tragic circumstances surrounding their deaths.
“They encountered a dark turn on the road,” Phillips said. “It may be impossible to (ever) make sense of that darkness.”
Phillips said the young men, “one from back east, one from out west,” lived life “to its full measure.”
Carrillo, a signal support systems specialist, was “good at making things work,” the general said. The young soldier had a “positive nature” and loved music, particularly hip hop, and was involved in a youth church group, he said. “He loved to joke,” Phillips said. “John (Carrillo) genuinely liked people. He radiated life.”
Carrillo is survived by his wife, Reylene, his sons, John III and Julius, his parents, John Sr. and Desiree Carrillo, and several younger siblings.
Noonan liked to read and was a fan of novelist Jack Kerouac, Phillips said. Kerouac wrote “On the Road” and “Big Sur.”
The general offered a quote from Kerouac, “I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness
of life.” He added the
fallen warriors had “in
the brief span” of their lives given those around them a “consciousness of life.”
Noonan, like Carrillo, loved music, particularly soul, and “had more than 4,000 songs on his iPod,” the general said. “Gebrah was a serious Yankee fan,” Phillips said. The private was voted class clown, he said. “On senior dress-up day, he went to school dressed as Michael Jackson,” Phillips said.
The general said Noonan’s sister, Sheminith, said her brother looked for the good in people and hoped to use his life for good.
Noonan is also survived by his parents, William and Ling Chin Noonan, brothers Ariel and Adlai Noonan, and two step-brothers, Patrick and Paul Jacques.
“They both lived their values,” Phillips said. “They defended those they did not know.”
There are now 436 eastern redbud trees planted along Warriors Walk.