Jacob D. Dones loved life in the Army. His sister, Priscilla Rojas, joined the Marines. That led to more than a little sibling rivalry.
"In a Pizza Hut once, he was starting to talk about how the Army was better than the Marines," Rojas said. As they playfully fought about it, he put her in a choke hold, she said with a laugh. "He was always laughing and cracking jokes. He was very confident."
Dones, 21, of Dimmitt, Texas, was killed Oct. 20 in Hit from a mortar attack. He was assigned to Fort Irwin.
"No matter how crappy a job he had to do, he always managed to find a way to make a joke about it," Spc. Jonathan Cruz said. "He was serious about his job, and he knew how to tell the difference between joking around and working."
Dones graduated from high school in 2002 and enlisted in the Army that year. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. "He was an inspiration to the younger soldiers because he'd been through this before," said Sgt. Stephen Freitas. "He would keep the younger soldiers on track."
Dones was soon to be married and had a 5-year-old daughter.