JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The remains of a fallen soldier are now back home on American soil with his family. Army Spc. Junot Cochilus grew up in Haiti and achieved his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. Family members tell Action News that Cochilus wanted to serve in the Army.
As the Falcon 20 flew into NAS Jax, servicemen and women lined the runway. Most never knew Spc. Cochilus, but they all spent an hour of their day honoring the fallen hero.
“Nobody comes into the military with the mindset that this could happen but it's always in the back of your mind,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman, Lennard Small.
Spc. Cochilus was killed in Afghanistan after insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Action News spoke with his brother, Clasene Jean, who is from Haiti and needed a translator for the interview. But when we asked why Cochilus decided to join the military, he didn't wait for the translator.
”He really loved America and he really loved the American people,” said Jean.
Raised in Haiti, becoming a U.S. citizen and joining the Army was the soldier’s American dream.
“He was somebody who set out to do everything he intended to do in life,” said Jean.
About a dozen family members grieved over the soldier’s coffin with heavy hearts and tears. Overwhelmed with emotion, two family members needed medical attention. One fainted and had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital on base.
“It wasn't just a brother that died. He was the soul of the family," said Jean.
Cochilus leaves behind a wife and young son who live in the Jacksonville area. He will be buried Saturday at Jacksonville National Cemetery.