Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has received official notification from the U.S. Army at the Pentagon alerting him about the death of Private Jonathan Falaniko in Iraq.
According to the U.S. Army, Private Falaniko was killed near the Al Khadra Police Station in downtown Baghdad when a vehicle containing an improvised explosive device detonated. Twenty-year old Jonathan Falaniko was a member of the A Company, 70th Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division, in Fort Riley, Kansas.
Pvt. Jonathan Falaniko is the son of Command Sergeant Major Ioakimo Falaniko and Maliana Falaniko. CSM Ioakimo Falaniko has been serving with distinction in the U.S. Army for over 26 years. He is from the village of Amanave, American Samoa, while his wife Maliana is from Aua.
“It is a most difficult moment for any parent when a son or daughter is killed in war and I am sure that Ioakimo and Maliana are devastated by the sad news about the death of their young son in Iraq,” Faleomavaega said. “It is my understanding that Jonathan’s body will be returned to the United States for burial at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia sometime next week.”
“I have conveyed to Ioakimo and Maliana my most heartfelt sympathy and condolences and I have offered to provide any assistance they may need in their time of need. During this difficult time, I can only hope that the Falanikos will find comfort in their hearts and minds knowing that their beloved son died while serving his country proudly on a mission to bring about peace and freedom around the world,” the Congressman concluded.
The below photo of Command Sergeant Major Ioakimo Falaniko and his wife Maliana with Congressman Faleomavaega was taken during their meeting in Washington, DC in May 2001. CSM Falaniko was in DC to receive the 2001 "Meritorious Service Award" from the Federal Asian Pacific American Council in recognition of his significant contributions to the advancement of Asian Pacific Americans (APA) and the promotion of equal employment opportunity in the Federal work force and the APA community.