Jesus A. Gonzalez (2003/04/12)
The first Santa Cruz County former resident to lose his life in the Afghanistan-Iraq War called Indio, California his home. Jesus Gonzalez shares an honored place among Watsonville's war dead in its Veterans Park.
Jesus A. Gonzalez was born about 1980 in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. His mother's name was Sylvia. The family later moved to Indio, California, where Jesus was raised and educated. Following his graduation from Indio High School, Gonzalez attended the College of the Desert in nearby Palm Desert. His mother married Leopoldo G. Trevino and moved to Watsonville, where she worked for Salud Para La Gente and where Leopoldo became an organizer for the United Farm Workers in the Salinas and Pajaro Valley strawberry fields.
Jesus moved to Watsonville in about 2000 and assisted his stepfather in the labor movement. He married and in 2001, his wife gave birth to a daughter.
Gonzalez had been fascinated by the military as a young boy and about 2002 enlisted in the US Marine Corps. Following his basic and school-of-infantry training at Camp Pendleton, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division's 1st Tank Battalion stationed at Twenty-nine Palms, California. Lance Corporal Gonzalez accompanied that unit in its movement to Iraq and was later posted at Baghdad.
On April 12, 2003, while manning a checkpoint in Baghdad, Lance Corporal Jesus A. Gonzalez was shot and killed. His body was recovered and returned to California for burial in the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside.
(WRP, Volunteers plant trees in memorial grove to honor fallen soldiers by David Carkhuff, Posted: Monday, November 12th, 2007, http://www.register-pajaronian.com/fe_view_article.php?story_ id=2392&heading=0, [16 September 2008]; Military Times, Honor the Fallen http://www.militarycity.com/valor/256634.html, [16 Sept 2008])