CPT James A. Funkhouser Jr., affectionately known as Alex, was named after his father, James A. Funkhouser Sr., a 31 year retired Army veteran. He was born in Okinawa, Japan, while his parents were stationed there. Growing up he was an active child. His father is quick to point out that he "liked doing things." He read a lot and was just a normal boy. Between the ages of two and twelve, he lived in California. Then they moved to Texas where Alex fell in love with the state and made it his home.
As a child, Alex was big into war games and playing soldier. His wardrobe consisted largely of camouflage clothing. His father was Colonel in the Army. Like most military children, Alex initially rebelled against the profession that his father had dedicated his life to. However, deep down, he knew that one day he, too, would be a Soldier. He loved the outdoors. After high school, he went to college to persue a wildlife management degree.
Alex met his wife, Jennifer, while they were in college at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) near San Marcus. Both were in an accounting class and set next to each other thanks to the teacher's alphabetical seating assignment (her maiden name is Garza). They became study buddies and spent a lot of time together. Often would drive down "Devil's Backbone", a winding road in the outskirt of San Marcus and park near a cliff to watch the bright lights of the city.
About 18 months into their courtship, Alex took Jennifer to same cliff they'd been visiting for so long. It was just a normal evening and Jennifer was casually dressed in her denim overalls. Alex walked up behind her and placed his arms around her waist. He told her to look down and in his hands was an engagement ring. Though Jennifer said yes, her immediate reaction was mad. The couple got married a week later, but formally celebrated their wedding six months later on May 20, 2000, because Alex was going to Germany for more training.
"I couldn't believe he didn't tell me dress nicer," Jennifer recounted. "I can't believe that he proposed to me in those overalls. It was a beautiful night, but I was mad about that."
He joined the Army in July 1991 as an enlisted soldier and worked his way through the ranks to Staff Sergeant. He then took a Green to Gold scholarship and in August 1997 was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the US Army by his father on August 6, 1999. It was one of his proudest days as a father.
In December 9, 2005, Alex deployed with 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He served as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander and was dual hatted in charge of training the Iraqi Army. According to emails received on May 26th and a phone call on the 28th to his wife, Jennifer, things were going well. Alex was proud of the work he was doing to help the Iraqi people in their journey towards freedom and democracy.
On Memorial Day, May 29th, Jennifer returned with the kids and her parents from Corpus Christi. As she was getting her two daughters, Kaitlyn - 4, and Allison - 2, settled down and ready for their afternoon nap there was a knock at the door. Opening the door, Jennifer was greeted by two sharply dressed Soldiers, a female Chaplain and male Captain. Before anything could be said, she knew that something had happened to her husband.
Capt. James A. Funkhouser, 35, of Katy, Texas, died in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 29, of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during reconnaissance patrol operations. Killed with him were two journalists. He leaves behind his wife and two daughters.
Alex was in the business of helping people. He was directly responsible for ensuring that the Iraqi security forces were trained and operational so that other soldiers could go home sooner than later. He loved his job and the military profession. It is people like him that Iraqi citizens have to thank for freedom. It's people like him who we Americans have to thank for our freedoms. Those same freedoms we often take for granted, forgetting the sacrifices that make them possible.
Alex was laid to rest with full military honors at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetary in San Antonio, TX on Friday, June 9th at 9 AM. It was a wonderful ceremony with a great celebration of his life afterwards.
From Alex's wife, Jennifer:"Alex is just one of many, but maybe his death has and will force others to stop and notice when another soldier dies instead of barely paying attention to it in the news. I think that we are all starting to become immune to all of the death there and everywhere else. Iraq has been in our lives for the past few years and the deaths just don't seem to be as important now. Please don't let that happen. Take the time to notice another fallen soldier. Remember Alex and know that the next soldier is probably someone just like him.
"On the outside, Alex was the perfect officer. He emboddied all the Army values and lived up to obligations. At home, he was just like everyone else - a normal person. He loved his beer and his BBQ. He wasn't hard to pick out because he was always wearing his neon Oakleys and tye-die t-shirts. You never saw him without a smile."
From Alex's Childhood Friend, Kim:"When we were kids Alex was famous for getting the other neighborhood kids together and playing "Army" - he was always the "Commander" (I guess because his Dad had lots of Army stuff at home) and I was always the "Nurse" because my mom was a nurse and had lots of bandgages, gauze etc. for us to use. I was always there to "patch them up" and send them back out there to fight the "bad guys"... I wish I could do that know... patch him up to bring him home to enjoy life with Jennifer, Katy, Allison, Jim and Margaret.
I had been in contact with him during this deployment. He was always so thankful for the support of him and his men. I am going to honor his memory by continuing to support his men."
From Alex's Officer Candidate School Friend, Wes Fuller:I knew Alex when we both stationed in Ft. Bliss Texas and then in Ft. Carson. I was devastated to here the news of his death.Alex was a great friend as well as leader for me and it hurts knowing I will never get to tell him this.We lost contact when he went to OCS and I left for recruiting school but i will always remember him and the fun times we had.My condolences go out to his wife and children, he was a good man.
NEWS ABOUT CPT ALEX FUNKHOUSER
Alex's story respectfully written by CJ Grisham.