Dillon M. Jutras
Private First Class, United States Army
IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 31, 2005
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Private First Class Dillon M. Jutras, 20, of Fairfax Station, Virginia, died in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, on October 28, 2005, from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations. Jutras was assigned to the Army's 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Fairfax Station man killed in Iraq
A 20-year-old Edison High School graduate from Fairfax Station who volunteered for combat service was killed in Iraq Friday, less than a year after enlisting in the military.
Private First Class Dillon M. Jutras, part of the U.S. Army's famed 75th Ranger Regiment, died in the country's Al Anbar Province Oct. 28 from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office. He was in the regiment's 3rd battalion.
“The pride his family feels for Dillon's achievements is immeasurable. ... He will always be in the hearts of those whose lives he touched,” the Jutras family said in a released statement.
Jutras, an Army Ranger rifleman based out of Fort Benning, Georgia, was deployed to Iraq this past August in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He enlisted in the Army in December 2004, an uncle said.
His military awards and decorations include the Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Parachutist badge.
“He was just a healthy, strong athletic guy,” said Steve Silvey, Jutras' uncle.
He said Jutras was a fan of running and played soccer in high schools and clubs in both Virginia and North Carolina. Other loves included bowling, his 1986 Dodge pickup truck and rock music from the 1980s. However, most of all, “he loved his family,” Silvey said.
Jutras, born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, according to Army officials, was posthumously recommended for the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device, Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal.
According to the family, Jutras geared much of his life to follow in the “footsteps” of his father, Pierre Jutras, a major in the U.S. Army.
Jutras was a junior reserve officer training cadet at Hoke County High School in North Carolina and at Edison in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. He was also involved in George Mason University's senior ROTC program the year he was there.
Edison's Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Berry said it is rare that a graduate of the county school system's JROTC program enters the military so soon after high school. Since Jutras left Edison just before he took over as department chair, Berry could not comment on his death.
His family said Jutras decided to join the Army while at GMU. A short time later, after finishing his initial military training earlier this year, Jutras then told his commanders he wanted to fight in Iraq.
The decision did not surprise the family.
“He wanted to serve his country,” Silvey said. “And we're very proud of that.”
As of Tuesday, the family had not yet made
plans for a memorial service. However, Jutras did express to them in the
past, Silvey said, that he wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
From the time Dillon Miles Jutras was a young boy, he was trying to follow his father's lead.
The 20-year-old enlisted in the U.S. Army last December - after spending his entire childhood around military bases and a father, U.S. Army Major Pierre Jutras, whom he adored. On October 28, Dillon, 2005, who was part of the elite Army Rangers, was killed during combat operations in Iraq's Anbar province. He had been sent to the war-torn area in August.
"He wanted to be a soldier. He always talked about it and that's what he did," said his mother, Julia Jutras.
Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,886 U.S. military members have died, according to Associated Press' count. That includes at least 1,462 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
The Jutras family is rooted in Anderson, despite the fact that they now live in Fairfax, Va. Both Mrs. Jutras - whose maiden name is Silvey - and Maj. Jutras were raised in Anderson County. They graduated from Westside High School in the early 1980s, married, and moved to North Carolina. After Dillon and his sister, Heather, were born, the couple moved back to Anderson so Maj. Jutras could attend Clemson University.
As the family continued to move about from Army base to Army base, Private Jutras' interest in the military grew. Like his younger brothers and his sister, he would rifle through his father's closet so he could slip on the over-sized military shoes and try on his father's uniform, Mrs. Jutras said.
"We have pictures of all four of the kids in somebody's uniform at some time or another," Mrs. Jutras said.
When Jutras entered high school, he joined the Junior Reserve Office Training Corps. Once he graduated, he tried his hand at college, enrolling in classes at George Mason University. But a year later, he told his parents that he wanted to go ahead and enlist in the military.
"He just said that college was not what he wanted," Mrs. Jutras said. "He wanted to enlist, and we supported him completely."
The young man, who was athletic and physically fit, made an easy fit for the Army Rangers. He was assigned to the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, Georgia. Since he was deployed to Iraq, he made it a point to call home about once a week.
On October 25, 2005, the Jutras family received their last phone call from their oldest son. He was in "high spirits" and talked to his parents about fixing up his beloved 1986 Dodge pickup truck. When he called, he was writing thank-you notes to people who had sent him care packages.
"It is just a huge loss," Mrs. Jutras said. "We are crushed. He was so proud of what he was doing and we were proud of what he was doing. His commitment to his family and his selfless service to his country are reflections of what an honorable person he was."
Pfc. Jutras has been recommended for the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal. His funeral will be held Monday and he will be laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.
Posted: 5 November 2005 Updated: 22 January 2006 Updated: 16 October 2007
Photo By: M. R. Patterson, October 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, January 2006