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Army Sergeant from Queens killed in Iraq

A Far Rockaway native and U.S. Army Sergeant was killed in Baghdad last week when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle. Sergeant Alphonso Montenegro, 22, was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Montenegro graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 2003 and enlisted in the army immediately, hoping to pursue his dream of gaining an education in medicine afterward. About to turn 21 and excited to be headed home, Montenegro was given the bad news - that he would be remaining in Iraq for a second tour.
Montenegro’s mother, Sandra Montenegro, 38, of Wilson, NC, said she had a premonition that something was wrong, waking up in tears from a bad dream the night before her son was killed. Later that day, she found out the bad news.
“My nephew called me and said I needed to come home,” she said in published reports. When she arrived home, soldiers were waiting to tell her of the death of her son and four other soldiers, all between the ages of 19 and 25.
Sandra Montenegro, struggling with English, could not place the name of the device that killed her son until a reporter uttered the phrase in attempt to help her out.
“An IED,” she said. “That’s what killed my baby.”
Montenegro was a member of the 1st Batallion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Along with his mother, he is survived by his brother, Christian, 20, and his sister, Jennifer, 18.
“We were always competing to see who could do the most with their lives,” said Christian in published reports. Also a soldier, Christian is based at Fort Hood, Texas.
While details of Montenegro’s death were not disclosed by the military, it was revealed that Montenegro was not scheduled to be on patrol at the time of his death.
“He volunteered, and that was the day that he died,” said Sandra. “He was always there for the other soldiers … it’s hard for me to send him away again.”
Sandra added that her son “wanted to be with his grandmother,” who died of cancer. It was her death that prompted Montenegro to go into medicine.
“He was caring,” said his sister Jennifer in a statement issued Tuesday, June 26. “He looked out for everybody. He was like a dad for us.”

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