Friends, comrades at funeral celebrate Rozier’s life

Associated Press

KATY, Texas — Family members and friends of the fifth Houston-area serviceman to die in Iraq have remembered his heroism on the battlefield and his leadership as a family man and Texas A&M University graduate.

As relatives of Army Lt. Jonathan Rozier recalled the soldier’s life, several hundred mourners at his funeral wiped away their tears and replaced them with smiles on July 30. In attendance were Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Katy Mayor Doyle Callender.

Three days after Rozier’s 25th birthday, he died in Baghdad when his unit was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire outside a municipal building, according to the Defense Department. The soldier was with B Company, 270th Armor Battalion, 1st Armored Division from Fort Riley, Kan.

During services at First Baptist Church in Katy, mourners were led in a rendition of “The Spirit of Aggieland.” Rozier, a recipient of the Bronze Star for valor, graduated from Texas A&M in 2001.

Members of A&M’s Corps of Cadets paid tribute to Rozier by crouching and yelling “Whoop!” A standing ovation followed when the Rev. Tommy Alford, in the eulogy, encouraged everyone to stand and applaud Rozier’s life.

Rozier was remembered as a home-schooled straight arrow who married the first girl he ever dated. Family also recalled how enjoyed taking things apart.

David Rozier said his son as the kind of boy who “actually read the manuals for VCRs” and once suffered a bad cut while in “trying to find out how a food processor works.”

Rozier’s mother, Barbara Rozier, said her “relationship with Jesus Christ” has helped her deal the unbearable pain of losing her son.

“Jonathan is dancing in heaven,” she said. “He’s gone on ahead, so for now we’re going to say goodbye.”

Rozier is survived by his wife, Jessica, and their 9-month-old son, Justin.

Jessica Rozier read from the citation that awarded her husband a Bronze Star, which he received for his actions during a March 31 battle at Al Hillah. Rozier’s platoon of tanks came under enemy fire and he put his tanks between the foot soldiers and the enemy, destroying the attackers with “textbook” tactics, the citation said.

Rozier also received a Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Purple Heart for his wounds.

Jessica Rozier laid a red rose on his flag-draped casket before leaving the church.

He was buried at Houston National Cemetery, where an honor guard from Fort Sam Houston lifted the flag and held it aloft as a salute was fired and “Taps” was played.

Two Apache helicopters from a National Guard unit at Ellington Field roared overhead.