LCpl. Jonathan W. Grant
23, of Santa Fe, N.M.; assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Albuquerque, N.M.; attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed May 11 when his amphibious assault vehicle struck an explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Karabilah, Iraq. Also killed were: Marine Pfc. Christopher R. Dixon; Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Erdy, and Marine Lance Cpl. Jourdan L. Grez.
Pojoaque Marine killed in Iraq explosion
POJOAQUE, N.M. - A Marine from Pojoaque was killed in Iraq when an explosive device detonated near a vehicle he was riding in, his family said.
The grandmother of Lance Cpl. Jonathan Grant, 23, said she was notified Friday that he died in an explosion Wednesday.
"I didn’t expect this because he said he was coming home soon," said Margie Warner, 83, Grant’s grandmother who raised him since he was an infant. "Now I understand because now he’s coming home."
The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the deaths of six Marines in one squad when the troop transporter they were riding in hit a bomb while working as part of Operation Matador in Karabilah, but it hadn’t released all of their identities as of early Monday.
Grant is the 10th New Mexico service member to be killed in Iraq.
Family members said Grant worked in radio communications.
Grant leaves behind a fiancee, a 5-year-old daughter and 17-month-old son.
Grant joined the Marines in 2002. He had been in Iraq since January.
Warner said military officials told her the vehicle Grant was riding in melted to the ground.
"I don’t want to see him in my dreams like that," she said. "I need some more explanation before I see him."
Eva Maestas, Grant’s fiancee and the mother of his children, said the two have been together seven years. She said they planned to be married when he returned in October.
"He had a great sense of humor. He loved to work out, play sports and was really into low riders," she said. "He wanted to get a ‘63 Impala and fix it up."
Maestas said she got pregnant with their first child while still in high school. She said Grant dropped out to care for the child and allow her to graduate.
Grant got his GED in 2000, Maestas said.
Grant will be buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, where his uncle — who was declared missing in action in Vietnam in 1968 — has a headstone, family members said.
Marine killed in Iraq mourned as hero
POJOAQUE, N.M. - The head of the New Mexico National Guard, friends and family of a 23-year-old Reserve Marine killed in Iraq this month remembered him at a memorial service in his hometown.
Lance Cpl. Jonathan Grant was among four Reserve Marines who died May 11 when their amphibious assault vehicle was hit by a blast in Karabilah, the U.S. Department of Defense said. He was the 10th New Mexican killed in Iraq.
"Jonathan has made his mark in this world, and he will never be forgotten," Brig. Gen. Kenny Montoya of the state National Guard told the 800 people who turned out Wednesday evening at the Pojoaque Valley High School gymnasium to remember Grant.
The mourners filed past his flag-draped coffin, and many paused and wept before a large frame of photographs of Grant’s life, from his childhood to him holding his own child.
Montoya presented flags to Grant’s 83-year-old grandmother, Margie Warner, who raised Grant, and to Grant’s fiance, Eva Maestas. Grant also is survived by his 5-year-old daughter and 17-month-old son.
Mourners remembered Grant as a hometown hero who treated everyone with respect.
A childhood friend, Richard "Richie" Mondragon, recalled they spent time together trying to catch water bugs in the ditch behind their homes. As they grew up, Grant went to work at a pizza parlor and started talking about the military.
"He always wanted to be a Marine," Mondragon said. "He thought it was the right thing to do."
Mondragon praised Warner for how she raised Grant, saying his friend "was the most respectful guy I ever knew."
Grant, who joined the Marines in 2002, had been in Iraq since January. He was assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, from Albuquerque. That unit was attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Grant’s fiancee and the mother of his children said earlier this month that the couple had been together seven years and planned to be married when he returned in October. Maestas said she got pregnant with their first child while still in high school and that Grant dropped out to care for the baby and allow her to graduate. He got his GED in 2000, she said.
— Associated Press