Jacques Fontan was born on Veterans Day, November 11, 1968, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 7, 1989, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in May 1989, followed by Fire Controlman School at NTC Great Lakes and then at Dam Neck, Virginia, from May 1989 to October 1990. His first assignment was as a Fire Controlman aboard the guided missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG-47) based out of Charleston, South Carolina, from October 1990 to January 1995, followed by service as a rescue swimmer instructor with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron ONE at Jacksonville, Florida, from March 1995 to March 1998. Petty Officer Fontan next attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training from April to October 1998, followed by service with SEAL Team EIGHT at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from October 1998 to July 2001. During this time he deployed aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD-13) from December 2000 to May 2001. He again served with SEAL Team EIGHT at NAB Little Creek from May to July 2001, and then with Naval Special Warfare Group TWO at NAB Little Creek from July to September 2001. His final assignment was with SEAL Team TEN at NAB Little Creek from September 2001 until he was killed in action while deployed to Afghanistan when the MH-47 Chinook helicopter he was aboard was shot down by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade on June 28, 2005, during Operation Red Wings. Jacques Fontan was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as Platoon Chief Petty Officer, SEAL Team TEN, while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 28 June 2005. As part of a Quick Reaction Force, Chief Fontan was sent to reinforce a Navy SEAL Special Reconnaissance element engaged in a fierce firefight against a numerically superior Anti-Coalition Militia near Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. The Special Reconnaissance element was under siege from enemy fire in extremely rugged and unforgiving terrain. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully comprehending the ramifications of the mission, Chief Fontan’s element launched aboard a helicopter for direct insertion onto an active battlefield, ready to engage and destroy the enemy in order to protect the lives of their fellow SEALs. While airborne Chief Fontan continued working with members of his team to develop the plan of attack to support both a Quick Reaction Force and an urgent execution of the intended deliberate assault. As the helicopter hovered in preparation for a daring fast-rope insertion of the SEALs, the aircraft was struck by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade fired by Anti-Coalition Militia. The resulting explosion and impact caused the tragic and untimely loss of life of all onboard. Chief Fontan’s bravery and heroism in the face of severe danger while fighting the Global War on Terrorism was extraordinary. By his courageous actions, zealous initiative, and loyal dedication to duty, Chief Fontan reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.