Navy SEAL from Massapequa killed in training exercise

Navy SEAL from Massapequa killed in training exercise

Jonathan Kaloust, a Massapequa native, was buried on May 24.

Nelson Gomez, Managing Editor

It’s always upsetting when a serviceman dies, but when that loss strikes close to home, it’s a tragedy. Such is the story surrounding the death of Special Warfare Operator Third Class Jonathan Kaloust, a Massapequa native who died on May 15 when, according to military officials, the Humvee he was riding in overturned during a training exercise.

Park Boulevard was lined with hundreds of Mass­apequa residents who came to pay their respects during his memorial service on May 24, when Kaloust was buried at Pinelawn National Cemetary. Onlookers arrived adorned in red, holding American flags in silence out of respect for the fallen SEAL and his family. Navy sailors, Nassau County police officers, and the Mass­apequa Fire Department were also present, as was Mass­apequa Park mayor, Mr. James Altadonna.

“It’s an honor to have this young man here, and we’re saddened by his loss,” Mr. Altadonna said. “It hits home, the sacrifices these young men and women have to make.”

Kaloust was twenty-three years old when he died. He attended Massapequa High School and was a star wrestler from 2003 to 2007, lettering all four years in high school. After graduating, he began wrestling for Binghamton University. The news of his death sent ripples through the community — the Friends of Massapequa Wrestling organi­zation (FOMW), for example, encouraged its members to at­tend the memorial service.

“Jon was a born leader, always someone others want­ed to be like,” legendary for­mer Massapequa High School wrestling coach Mr. Al Bevi­lacqua said.

Massapequa residents in attendance were equally sad­dened by the SEAL’s pass­ing. Those who have or had children enlisted in the armed forces sympathized with the Kaloust family’s loss.

“It means a lot that they keep everybody in their hearts and minds,” Massapequa Park resident Angelo Meloro said, whose own son is enlisted in the Coast Guard. “Sometimes we take for granted what [those who serve in the mili­tary] do for our country.”

Following Kaloust’s death, flags were raised at half staff throughout Mass­apequa and Massapequa Park, including Massapequa pub­lic schools, from Wednesday, May 22 to Friday, May 24. A makeshift memorial of red, white, and blue flowers was also erected on the front lawn of MHS.

Though Jonathan did not have the opportunity to serve for more than a few years, many admire his sacrifice. The crowds stretching down Park Boulevard were as strong an indication as any of the com­munity’s pride in Jonathan Kaloust’s brave contribution to his country.

“That kid had something this country needs,” Mr. Bevi­lacqua said, “and that’s people who love our country.”

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