August 15, 2016 –
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif – All throughout the auditorium was complete silence, not a trace of noise evident. Standing before all those present was a simple picture and uniform of Capt. Joel Ico, a fallen Army Reserve warrior held in reverence by everyone in his unit and family.
It was a symbol of the esteem and respect he commanded as a father, officer and person.
This scene opened a somber memorial service for Ico, a human resource officer for the 63rd Regional Support Command, Aug. 14, in the headquarters auditorium, Mountain View, Calif.
Ico passed away July 4 at the age of 41, following an accident at his residence, leaving behind his wife Michelle and seven children Jasmine, Jianna, Josh, Jannele, Joelle, Janine and Joechele. He had served in the U.S. Army in both the National Guard and reserve since Sept. 1996.
Family, friends and service members from the 63rd RSC packed the auditorium to pay tribute to Ico, with 63rd RSC Soldiers recalling him with warmth and fondness.
Although he knew him for only a matter of weeks, Ico was one of the first people to come up and introduce himself, said Lt. Col. Michael Stewart, company commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 63rd RSC.
“Just from that first meeting I knew Captain Ico was a man full of humility, full of heart and full of pride for his country,” said Stewart. “I wish I had gotten to know him more. His legacy will live on in this command for years to come.”
Stewart detailed Ico’s place of birth in Manila, Philippines, and his various roles within the Army, as enlisted and officer, joining the 63rd RSC in November 2010.
One of Ico’s closest friends within the command was Staff Sgt. Juan Martinez, senior human resource specialist, 63rd RSC, who remembered his first meeting with Ico in Feb. 2012.
“It was just after he was promoted to captain and I saw this line of children and I thought to myself, he must be a real family man,” said Martinez. “It gave me a little insight into (Joel). My wife and me were trying for our second child and we wanted a boy. I was discussing it with a co-worker and Captain Ico suddenly chimed in ‘don’t listen to that calendar- it doesn’t work.’”
What really hit home for me about Ico was how he reacted to other people and family, said Martinez.
“When he asked you how your family was doing, he really meant it,” continued Martinez. “I remember an honest to goodness great man. Everything he did was for his family. That’s what I’m going to miss about him.”
Martinez said he cared greatly about his job in human resources, because it involved taking care of Soldiers and their families.
“I’m going to miss him … I’m going to miss seeing him around and joking with him,” he said. “I just want to extend my hand to the family. You’ll always have a family here … call us and we’ll always be here for you.”
Also honoring Ico was Sgt. Arleen Banioza, finance noncommissioned officer, 63rd RSC, who gave a tearful farewell to Ico by remembering his positivity and uplifting spirit.
“I’ll always remember Captain Ico as an upbeat kind of person, there to cheer you up when you’re down and your spirits are low,” Banioza said. “I believe now he’s a guardian angel for everyone here”
“I miss you my friend,” she finished.
After a benediction and final roll call, the 63rd RSC Honor Guard fired a 3 round volley of shots, the echo of the rounds piercing the quiet Mountain View air.
The solemn playing of ‘Taps’ then filtered through the building, with all those in uniform saluting, paying one last tribute to Ico.
At the completion of the ceremony Jennifer Ico was assisted from the auditorium, walking slowly past the framed photo of her husband, her children following closely behind, their father firmly in their gaze.