Based: Ft. Campbell, Ky.
1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 1, 2006
Baghdad (south of), Iraq
Hometown: Santa Rosa
High School: Ridgway High School (Santa Rosa)
Burial: San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco
When Caesar Viglienzone was too little to even fit into a wetsuit, he was so eager to get in the water where his father was diving for abalone that he boldly ran into the freezing ocean without one. His love for diving for the large mollusks only grew from there.
The father and son were looking forward to returning to the rocky coast west of Sonoma, Calif., for some diving during a two-week leave the 21-year-old soldier had coming up next month. Viglienzone said on his Internet blog that the leave would be "no doubt the best two weeks of my life!"
Army private first class, was among three soldiers killed Feb. 1 when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee in Baghdad. Also killed were 1st Lt. Garrison C. Avery, 23, of Lincoln, Neb., and Spc. Marlon A. Bustamante, 25, of Corona, N.Y. All were assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, at Ft. Campbell, Ky.
Dennis Viglienzone, Caesar's father and a retired Navy officer, said his son "went over there trying to do good."
"He understood where he was going and what he was getting into," his father said. "He was proud of his service. He went over there as a soldier with the best of intentions.... He said, 'Hey, if something happens to me, I know you are going to suffer. But I don't want you to suffer too long.' "
He joined the Army in October 2004, and earned his air assault wings in June. Over the summer, his parents traveled to Ft. Campbell to watch their only child join the 101st Airborne Division and spend time with him before he was deployed to Iraq in September -- two weeks after his 21st birthday.
"It was the best time of our lives," his father said. "We camped out there. He chose to spend time in a non-air-conditioned pop-up trailer with his parents when he could have been back in a cool room with the others."Read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Caesar S. Viglienzone here and see more about him on the Iraq Page and visit Private Viglienzone's Guest Book.
Viglienzone called home frequently once in Iraq, about every week or two, his father said.
The painting of Private 1st Class Viglienzone was found here.