Oak Ridge soldier dies in Iraq
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Spec. 4 Jon-Erik Loney of Oak Ridge is a casualty of the Iraq War.
The 21-year-old soldier, a 2003 graduate of Danville High School, was killed Nov. 21 at about 6:30 p.m. EDT when the Humvee he was driving was blown apart by a roadside bomb. The tragic explosion occurred in the Salahuddin Province about 40 miles north of Baghdad.
His mother, Viola Kaylor and stepfather, Bo Kaylor, learned of their son’s death about an hour later from an Army chaplain and captain stationed at Redstone Arsenal. Loney’s father, Jamie Loney, lives in Steadman, N.C.
Kaylor said he last talked to his stepson two weeks before his death.
The soldier had a telephone conversation with his mother on Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. “He told her he was driving a Humvee and they talked about Christmas,” Kaylor said.
Danville High School Assistant Principal Gary Couey said Loney was a good student who was well liked by his teachers and fellow students. He was well adjusted and had a lot of friends. Learning about his untimely death was a big shock to all of us and our sympathy goes out to his family.”
Loney was attached to the 1st Battalion of the 6th Infantry Division. He received his basic training and advanced individual training at Ft. Benning, Ga., and served with a unit in Germany for a short time before being sent to Iraq on Jan. 13, 2006. He was home on a 20-day furlough last March and returned to Iraq on April 9, his 21st birthday. He was expected to rotate back to the states early next year.
The fallen soldier’s body is being shipped back to the states for burial. A military funeral is being planned under the direction of Peck Funeral Home.
In honor of Loney, Mayor Dwight Tankersley has asked flags in the city be lowered to half staff. American flags will also be placed along Highway 31 and downtown.