Pfc. James E. Prevete, Queens College

August 15, 2006 | Our Fallen Heroes


James Prevete was only briefly a member of the CUNY community, for a few months as a student at Queens College. James, however, like Queens College, was truly a product of the borough. He grew up in Whitestone, a patriotic middle class neighborhood on the north shore of Queens. Like thousands of other neighborhood kids from this mostly Italian and Irish area he went to Catholic school, including St. Francis Prep High School.
At St Francis, he developed his love of football. He played on the offensive line as a varsity standout. He internalized the keys to the game: aggressiveness, physical fitness, teamwork and loyalty. He also increased his appreciation for American democracy. He devoured works of history, his favorite subject. He came to see the USA as a beacon of freedom in the world. He was a well rounded, highly regarded student. He graduated in 2000, and initially headed to college.

He started out at Sacred Heart College in Connecticut. But he soon transferred to Queens College, just minutes from his beloved Whitestone neighborhood. There he pursued his love of history and Political Science. He became engaged to a young woman from the neighborhood,. and dreamed of living his married life on 5th Avenue in Whitrestone, between 147th and 149th Streets. Then in August of 2003, James enlisted in the US Army, putting into action those long held patriotic beliefs. He headed to basic training in November, and graduated the following March.

James Prevete then shipped out to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. Here he was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 506th Infantry, an elite air assault-infantry unit specializing in helicopter operations. Here the football player’s athleticism and teamwork were essential skills. But the new soldier didn’t spend much time in Korea. James and his battalion were soon assigned to duty in Iraq.

Private First Class Prevete died in Habbaniya, Iraq on October 10, 2004.. He died of injuries sustained a day earlier when his military vehicle encountered whiteout conditions. Due to a blinding sandstorm, the vehicles driver apparently lost control and crashed. Pfc James Prevete was 22 years old. He was a respected young member of several communities, including the Army, his neighborhood in Whitestone Queens, and briefly Queens College and the City University of New York. We all grieve for the loss of young man of such caliber.