Sgt. Johnny J. Peralez

Obituary
  • "Will never forget you Johnny, your spirit lives on in all..."
    - Elizabeth
  • "To the family and friends of Sgt. Johnny J. Peralez: It has..."
    - Peggy Childers
  • "January 5, 2012 To the family and friends of Sgt. Johnny J...."
    - Peggy Childers
  • "J, You were truly my best friend. I often think of the..."
    - Chris Brinkman
  • "missing you today and always..."
    - Cristina Ruiz

Cristina Ruiz was Johnny J. Peralez Jr.''s former neighbor, and called him the "nicest, funniest, best friend I''ve ever had." "We lived about five feet apart, and we were always trying to make each other laugh," said Ruiz. "Johnny would win hands down, because he had a good slow motion technique." Peralez, 25, of Kingsville, Texas, was killed Jan. 5 in Najaf by a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Fort Hood. Peralez was on the high school tennis team, played alto sax in the band, acted in one-act plays, and because of his interest in the arts, his teachers thought he would pursue a career in theater. Instead, a year after his graduation in 1998, he enlisted in the Army and followed in his mother''s healing footsteps to become a combat medic. He served in Germany and in Kosovo and, after the 2001 terror attacks, was part of the first contingent of American troops in Afghanistan. "He was always so witty and in such a good mood because he wanted to make everybody happy," said Cynthia A. Perez, his former tennis coach. He is survived by his father, Johnny J. Peralez Sr., and mother, Virginia Garcia. †Army Capt. Christopher P. Petty Stationed near the Iranian border, Christopher P. Petty devised a clever but risky method for responding to frequent mortar attacks. He''d calculate the mortars'' trajectories by examining impact craters and tail fins, then determine from where the rounds had been fired. "He''d go out where they were impacting, sometimes while they were still coming in," said his father, Paul R. Petty. Petty, 33, of Vienna, Va., was killed Jan. 5 in Najaf by a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Fort Hood and was on his second tour. "There was no question in his mind that he had to go back with his soldiers for the second deployment. He would never expect them to do anything he wouldn''t do himself," said his father. He was born in Berlin and lived in Austria, Finland and Jamaica. He graduated from Marshall University in 1996 with a degree in criminal justice. When he was commissioned, Ed Petty, an artillery officer in World War II, pinned his own second lieutenant''s bars and crossed cannon artillery insignia on his grandson. He is survived by his wife, Debbie, and sons Oliver, 3, and Owen, a newborn. ___ As a student at Falfurrias High School, Johnny J. Peralez Jr. played alto sax and performed in plays, so many thought he would continue his focus on the arts. Instead, Peralez joined the Army a year after graduating and became a combat medic, earning the rank of sergeant. Peralez later said he wanted to make the military his career because it was his calling, his family said through a spokeswoman. Peralez, 25, was on his second tour in Iraq when he was killed Thursday by an improvised explosive device that detonated near his military vehicle in An Najaf, the Department of Defense said. He was among five servicemen from Fort Hood killed in the blast. The five were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. While in high school, Peralez lived with his grandmother, Carmen Arellano, in Falfurrias. His friend and former neighbor, Cristina Ruiz, 24, called him the "nicest, funniest, best friend I''ve ever had." "We lived about five feet apart, and we were always trying to make each other laugh," said Ruiz, who was on the tennis team with Peralez in high school. After joining the Army, Peralez, of Kingsville, served in Germany and Kosovo and was among the first contingent of American troops in Afghanistan. He also served 14 months in Iraq before returning for a second tour in November, his family said. Before leaving for his second Iraq tour, Peralez visited his family and girlfriend, Luisa Reyes of Dallas. At the time, he told he had "found his calling" in the Army, a family spokeswoman said. Peralez is survived by his mother, Virginia Garcia; his father, Johnny J. Peralez Sr. of Lockney; a sister, Nina Kristine Peralez of Dallas; brothers, Romeo Villa of Killeen and Jessie Rene Peralez of Lockney; grandparents Jose and Tomasa Peralez of Lockney; and grandfather, Pedro Vasquez of Premont. Also killed in the attack with Peralez were Capt. Christopher P. Petty, 33, of Vienna, Va.; Maj. William F. Hecker III, 37, of St. Louis; Sgt. 1st Class Stephen J. White, 39, of Talladega, Ala. and Pvt. Robbie M. Mariano, 21, of Stockton, Calif. ___ Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com -- Cristina Ruiz was Johnny J. Peralez Jr.''s former neighbor, and called him the "nicest, funniest, best friend I''ve ever had." "We lived about five feet apart, and we were always trying to make each other laugh," said Ruiz. "Johnny would win hands down, because he had a good slow motion technique." "He was always so witty and in such a good mood because he wanted to make everybody happy," said Cynthia A. Perez, his former tennis coach.
Published online on Jan. 10, 2006
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