Joseph James Fenty, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
No. 424-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2006
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of 10 soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died east of Abad, Afghanistan, in the Kunar province, on May 5, 2006, when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed during combat operations.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty, 41, of
All those killed were assigned to the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum New York. Fenty, O'Donohoe, Timmons and Moquin were part of the 71st Cavalry Regiment. Totten, Donaldson, Howick, Brewster, Griffith, and Wiekamp were part of the 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.
This incident is under investigation.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty, Jr., was killed inKunar Province, Afghanistan May 5, 2006 while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Fenty, 41, was the commander of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Fort Drum, New York.
A native of New York, Fenty was commissioned an infantry officer in June 1986 after graduating from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, with a degree in business administration.
After completing the Infantry Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to the 506th Infantry Regiment at Fort Kobbe, Panama. In 1990, Fenty was assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where he served as a Company Commander and battalion staff officer. Fenty was reassigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, in June 1996 to the 14th Infantry Regiment and later to the 75th Ranger Regiment headquarters in July 1997.
Fenty was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in 1997 and deployed to Bosnia is support of multi-national operations. In March 2000, he was assigned to the Divisionís 2nd Brigade and later deployed with 2nd Brigade to Afghanistan. In June 2002, he was assigned to the U.S. Armyís Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Virginia.
Fenty returned to the 10th Mountain Division in June 2004 and took command of the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment.
In 1994, Fenty was selected to serve for two years as an exchange officer with the British Army as an instructor at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the United Kingdom ís equivalent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Fentyís military education includes the Command General Staff College, Training Development Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Pathfinder Course, Jumpmaster Course, Ranger School, Jungle Warfare School, Infantry Officer Basic Course and Infantry Mortar Platoon Officer Course.
In 1998, Fenty received a masterís degree in education from Troy State University.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge and the Ranger Tab.
Fenty is survived by his wife, Kristen, his
daughter Lauren and his parents.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty was born a soldier. And during his 20-year military career, his quiet passion inspired others to live the way he did.
"We all wanted to be more like Joe Fenty," said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gibson, who served with Fenty. "We all were in awe of him. Now we're coming together to show respect for the way he lived his life."
Yesterday, family and friends gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor Fenty, who was described as a loyal friend and devoted husband by those who knew him.
Fenty was among 10 soldiers killed May 5, 2006, when their Chinook helicopter crashed in the Kunar province of Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He was 41.
Fenty was born on Long Island, New York, and graduated from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, where he met his wife, Kristen. The couple were sent to a variety of posts during his military career, including in Alaska, Panama and Georgia. He listed his home address as Florida, where his father lives, according to the Department of Defense.
Friends said Fenty was an elite athlete, citing his remarkable marathon times (under three hours) and his proclivity for ultramarathons -- races of 60 to 70 miles. He was also a cross-country skier, mountain biker and kayaker.
"If he wasn't in the Army, he could have been a professional endurance athlete," said Lieutenant Colonel Fred Johnson, a longtime running buddy.
Johnson said Fenty's post-military plans incorporated his love of the outdoors. "He wanted to work in Outward Bound and teach kids to enjoy fitness as much as he did."
Fenty's final assignment was with the 71st Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), based at Fort Drum, New York. While there, his quiet professionalism earned him many admirers, friends said.
"He was dynamic in his actions and his ideas," Gibson said. "And because of that, soldiers were drawn to him and would give everything they had to him. They worked tirelessly not to let him down."
Friends also recalled his dedication to his family -- his wife and newborn daughter, Lauren, whom he spoke of proudly but never met.
Fenty spoke with his wife about a month ago, the day their first child was born, and then again hours before the assignment in which he was killed. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Cavoli recalled Fenty's demeanor after the call.
"He was glowing," Cavoli recalled. "There was just this different smile -- a warm smile."
Fenty was to lead nine soldiers on a helicopter operation that carried potential complications, friends said. But as always, he accepted the risks gracefully.
"He was a man of such sterling character," Cavoli said. "It's a shame for our country to lose him, not just as a soldier but as a citizen. He leaves behind hundreds and hundreds of people he inspired."
The other soldiers killed in the crash were
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten, 34, of Texas; Chief Warrant Officer
2 Christopher B. Donaldson, 28, of Illinois; Staff Sergeant Christopher
T. Howick, 34, of Hamburg, New York; Sergeant Bryan A. Brewster, 24, of
Fontana, California; Sergeant John C. Griffith, 33, of Las Vegas; Sergeant
Jeffery S. Wiekamp, 23, of Utopia, Texas; Specialist Justin L. O'Donohoe,
27, of San Diego; Specialist David N. Timmons Jr., 23, of Lewisville, North
Carolina; and Private First Class Brian M. Moquin Jr., 19, of Worcester,
SEPTEMBER 10, 2008
FORT DRUM ó Tuesday would have been Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty Jr.'s 44th birthday if he had not died in a helicopter crash May 5, 2006, in Afghanistan with nine other 10th Mountain Division soldiers.
In honor of his memory and to give tribute to his service, the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team dedicated its headquarters building on post to the man who helped create, train and lead the squadron on its first deployment to Afghanistan.
"I wouldn't say I was most proud of what he did in Afghanistan, because I am more proud of the influence on the men and women in this unit, that he built, who will carry on this mission," said Kristen M. Fenty, Colonel Fenty's wife of 19 years. The Fentys have a daughter, Lauren O., who was only 28 days old when her father died. Col. Fenty never got to see her.
Colonel Fenty and nine other 10th Mountain soldiers died in the most deadly incident during any deployment for the division since the beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Colonel Fenty was in a Chinook helicopter, extracting part of his squadron from a mountain range in Kunar, Afghanistan, when the helicopter hit a tree and was sent spiraling into a 300-foot-deep ravine.
"He knew it was dangerous and he purposefully placed himself there," said Captain Mitchell A. Payne, who served under Colonel Fenty prior to the deployment and while in Afghanistan. "He led by being first."
That was something that resonated with everyone who spoke about Colonel Fenty, especially Major General Bernard Champoux, who addressed the crowd during the ceremony. General Champoux served with Colonel Fenty and the 10th Mountain Division in 1997 when the division deployed to Bosnia. General Champoux also has grown to become a part of the Fenty extended family since 2006.
"Joe felt a calling to do this, and he was
hard-wired to be the first soldier to walk into the unit and train them
for combat and lead them into combat," said General Champoux. "His leadership
by example and keenness to toughness is what brought him to that dark night
in May. He didn't need to be there, but he put himself there. The plaque
says he is the cornerstone of this squadron for a reason."
Colonel Fenty helped to create the new squadron in 2003 when the 3rd Brigade Combat Team came to the 10th Mountain Division, and he was the unit's first commander. He also was the first officer to die in Afghanistan and was part of the first group of causalities during the deployment.
Soldiers who knew him and the others who died said that their loss was tough to take because they were prepared to lose men ó but in combat, not in a helicopter crash.
"I think it's a tremendous thing today. Fenty Hall will be said every day," said Charlee M. Miller, his mother, who wears dog tags around her neck and pins from the 3-71 on her jacket lapel. "It's as if a breath of life will live on in Fenty Hall. It's nice to know that years from now, younger soldiers will ask about him and will hear the story."
Also killed in the crash were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, Staff Sergeant Christopher T. Howick, Sergeant Bryan A. Brewster, Sergeant John C. Griffith and Sergeant Jeffery S. Wiekam, all from the 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Brigade, and Specialist Justin L. Odonohoe, Specialist David N. "J.R." Timmons and Private First Class Brian M. Moquin from the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment.
FENTY, JOSEPH JAMES
Posted: 24 May 2006 Updated: 11 June 2006 Updated: 1 October 2006 Updated: 22 June 2009
Photo Courtesy of Holly, October 2006