Soldier Honored: Adan Gonzales, Jr.
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Sergeant Adan Gonzales, Jr., 28, of Bakersfield, Calif., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and served during Operation Enduring Freedom. On August 7, 2011, Sgt. Gonzales was killed while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Sgt. Gonzales graduated from Ridgeview High School, where he was on the wrestling team. He was an altar boy at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and helped to organize youth retreats for the parish. He worked as a cabinetmaker and helped his father with his landscaping business during summer. In May 2006, he enlisted in the Marines. Sgt. Gonzales excelled during his five years in the Marine Corps, serving a tour of duty in Iraq and qualifying for the Marine Corps’ elite sniper school. Sgt. Gonzales received numerous awards and ribbons including the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, a Navy Unit Commendation, and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal.
“Adan was kind, emotional, compassionate, strong-willed, hard-working, quick to laugh, and looked for joy in life,” his wife said. “His biggest joy was being a father to his three children. He loved training and boot camp. I have a picture of a drill instructor yelling at my husband. He was smiling. That was him.”
One of Sgt. Gonzales’ daughters is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.