82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg

Courtesy photo
Pfc. Jean Cruz De Leon, Fort Bragg Paratrooper, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, died during airborne training operations Sept. 9 on Fort Stewart.

Marne community mourns loss of Paratrooper

A Fort Bragg Paratrooper assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, died during airborne training operations Sept. 9 on Fort Stewart.
Pfc. Jean Cruz De Leon, 20, of Marrero, Louisiana, was an infantryman assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div., when his parachute malfunctioned while participating in an airborne training operation. The incident is under investigation.
“Pfc. Cruz De Leon was a dedicated Soldier who believed in continuously honing his craft and contributing every day to our mission,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Molly, commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. “He was an outstanding Paratrooper and friend whose actions assisted with the success of our unit. We are ensuring every resource is available to his Family and peers to help them during this difficult time.”
Cruz De Leon was assigned as a grenadier and radio-transmitter operator for Company A.
“Pfc. Cruz quickly assimilated and was eager to learn once he joined Company A. He was a positive addition and influence to the team,” said Capt. Charles McDonald, Company A commander.
“Cruz was a great Soldier, always made everyone laugh when everyone was down, constantly raising the team’s morale,” said Spc. Brandon Arnold, weapons squad team leader. “He consistently strived to better himself and was always there for his battle buddies.”
Second Lt. Michael Vecchio, platoon leader, stated, “Pfc. Cruz wanted to learn as much as he could when he assumed the role as RTO. Whenever he was given a task he would go out and find the answers just so he could learn his craft. He consistently surrounded himself around subject matter experts.”
Cruz De Leon, a three-time volunteer, enlisted in the Army in May of 2019 and reported to his first duty assignment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in October of 2019. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Parachutist Badge.