Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Army Staff Sgt. Alex A. Viola, 29, died Nov. 17 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Viola, a Green Beret, was killed when his unit was hit by a roadside bomb, according to the Department of Defense.
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Sadly, another Green Beret in that very same battalion - Staff Sgt. Richard L. Vazquez - died Nov. 13 in Afghanistan.
Viola grew up in Keller, Texas. His mother, Margaret, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that her son earned an engineering degree from the University of North Texas before joining the Navy, with the hopes of becoming a SEAL.
An injury during SEAL "hell week" prompted Viola to leave the Navy. He then joined the Army as an engineer sergeant with U.S. Army Special Forces. According to Margaret Viola:
“He was just a great guy and I’m not saying that because I’m his mother. This is what he wanted to do, and he kept trying and training.
“We were just in awe of him, his drive to do that.”
Viola is survived by his father, Frank, and older sister Christina. Christina's husband, Joey Spragins, talked to Dallas-Fort Worth television station NBC 5. You'll find that video posted up top.