|Birth: ||Nov. 11, 1968|
|Death: ||Jun. 28, 2005, Afghanistan|
Jourdan Fontan said that her dad was the kind of guy who had a hard time waiting at red lights. She last saw him on Thanksgiving in Atlanta. Since then, they maintained their relationship through e-mails and at least one major gift. He sent money for her to get a car. Jourdan Fontan's dad,
Chief Petty Officer Jacques Fontan, formerly of Lafayette, was one of 16 U.S. troops aboard a MH-47 Chinook helicopter who were killed Tuesday as they flew into a mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan to aid a band of U.S. troops fighting militants, said his ex-wife Juli St. Martin.
She said family members were notified by military officials on Wednesday that he was aboard the helicopter that was shot down by an unguided rocket-propelled grenade. On Friday, military officials notified the family that he had been killed, St. Martin said. The crash is the deadliest single attack on U.S. forces since the ousting of the Taliban in 2001.
Lt. Col. Chris Conway, Department of Defense spokesman, said that official release of the names of those aboard the helicopter "is pending notification of next of kin of all the members who were lost in this tragic event." He would not confirm Fontan's death or any other information. When military officials notified Jourdan and her mother on Wednesday evening that Fontan was aboard the helicopter that was shot down, they held out hope that he was alive. Word came that 17 names were on the manifest for the helicopter, but only 16 people actually got on board the flight."One person missed the flight. We had this glimmer of hope that it might be him," St. Martin said of her ex-husband. "We found out this morning that it wasn't.
It wasn't real until this morning. "Fontan, 36, attended the University of Louisiana in the late 1980s when it was called the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Jourdan's parents divorced when she was 5. She's 16 now, and she and her mother still live in Lafayette. When he asked in an e-mail on June 8 for her to describe the car that her father sent money for her to buy, she told him what would be most important to a 16-year-old girl - "It's silver. "He e-mailed back that he wanted to know what kind of car it was, not the color. He also reminded her that he loved her very much and not to ever forget that.
St. Martin said that Jourdan has worn her dad's dogtags since he was deployed. Now, she doubts that her daughter will ever take them off. Jourdan and her dad were both planning to build a closer relationship when he got back from overseas. He would be on "on shore duty" for the rest of his career. He tried not to lecture her in his e-mails, but he didn't want her to make mistakes in her life and worked at giving her good advice. Jourdan will be a junior at Lafayette High this fall.
She said that her dad's missions were so top-secret that "all he could tell us was that he was not in Iraq. "St. Martin said that Fontan majored in criminal justice, but did not graduate from USL. St. Martin and Fontan were married from 1988 until 1994. "He was a Sigma Nu at USL. My dad talked him into joining the Navy," St. Martin said. As a Navy SEAL, Fontan lived with his wife, Charissa Fontan, in Virginia Beach, Va.
St. Martin said that she and Jourdan will travel to Virginia Beach where a memorial service will be held next week for Fontan's team of eight Navy SEALs who were killed in the helicopter crash. The other eight troops killed were Army air crew members. St. Martin said that Fontan will be buried in Jacksonville, Fla., where he wanted to retire.
"He had one week left in Afghanistan and then he would go to Germany," St. Martin said. "This would have been the last deployment of his military career. "In her last e-mail to her dad, Jourdan wrote: "Hey daddy, It would mean alot to me to see you more and maybe come to lafayette when you are all settled. It's weird i mean my best friend has never met my dad and i just want you to be a big part of my life and i don't know it just means a lot to me!"
Originally published July 2, 2005
Jacksonville Memory Gardens
Created by: Cindy
Record added: Jul 05, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11293733