Staff Sgt. Jose Mercado

Staff Sgt. Jose F. Laureano-Mercado, 29, of Manhattan, Kan., died Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Manhattan, Kan., as the result of a motorcycle accident.

Jose was born on Sept. 6, 1984, in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, the son of Luis Laureano and Maria Mercado. He was reared and educated in Puerto Rico, graduating from Fernando Suria Chaves High School in 2002.

Jose joined the U.S. Army Aug. 6, 2002, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was sent to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for language school, and Fort Benning, Ga., for training as an ammunitions specialist (89B). His first unit in Fort Hood, Texas, was then mobilized to Illesheim, Germany, where he deployed to Afghanistan and Kosovo with 2-6 Cavalry in 2006 and 2007, respectively where he served as the NCOIC of the Ammunition Supply Point. The unit returned to Fort Hood, and Jose was transferred to 664 Ordnance Company. He deployed to Iraq with 4-4 Aviation in 2008. His next assignment was with 24th Ordnance Company in Fort Stewart, Ga. Finally, he was assigned to 1-1 Combat Aviation Brigade in Fort Riley, Kan. He was serving as platoon sergeant to the Rear Detachment and as the senior motorcycle mentor at the time of his death.

Jose was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (4), the Meritorious Unit Citation (2), the Army Good Conduct Medal (3), the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal (2), NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the First Class Diver’s Badge.

Sergeant Laureano-Mercado completed extensive military training, including the Hazardous Material Handlers Course, Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles Training, the Fuel Handlers Course, the Combat Life Savers Course, the Warrior Leader Course, the Advanced Leader Course and the Anti-Terrorism Officers Basic Course.

Jose married Sara Choiniere on May 23, 2008, at Fort Hood. Their son, Hector Jose, was born Aug. 24, 2011.

Jose’s life dream was to be a soldier, and he carried an immense amount of pride in his uniform. He was a duty-driven NCO who put his soldiers first. He was a devoted family man and loving husband and father. Jose possessed a capacity for love and compassion seldom seen, and will be sorely missed.

Jose is survived by his wife, Sara Laureano-Mercado; son, Hector Jose Laureano-Mercado; mother, Maria Mercado; father, Luis Laureano; brother, Jose Juan Laureano; sister, Yarlin Laureano.

Funeral Service: Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 10:30 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Karlsruhe.

Burial: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery, Karlsruhe.

Vigil Prayer Service will be today, Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.

Visitation: Today, Monday, Sept. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.

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