Funeral for NJ soldier killed in Afghanistan

October 28, 2011 2:40:03 PM PDT
Friends and family said a final goodbye to an Army National Guard member from New Jersey who was killed in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Jorge Oliveira, 33, was laid to rest in Newark Friday.

More than 1,000 people, including those from every branch of the military and law enforcement across the state came to pay their respects to Oliveira, who was also an Essex County Sheriff's detective.

"He was a great guy," said friend Matt Marcaida, who attended Science High School in Newark with Oliveira. "I didn't even know he signed up for a third time."

Oliveira was on his third tour in Afghanistan when, on October 19, he and his unit came under attack by insurgents who detonated an explosive, claiming the young sergeant's life.

There was a tremendous showing of support for Oliveira and his grieving parents.

"It's hard to breathe right nwo," friend Doug Macko said. "But it is what it is. If I can come do this for him, so be it. I just want to feel like I'm doing something."

Oliveira was assigned to the Security Forces Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment. The Riverdale-based unit deployed to Afghanistan in June and was assigned to a provincial reconstruction team.