Staff Sergeant Leonardo de Castro Carvalho, 1980 - 2010
First Sergeant Leonardo de Castro Carvalho, a national of Brazil, was deployed to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). After spending Christmas with his family in Brazil, Leonardo was scheduled to complete his mission to Haiti in mid-January 2010.
Born in southeastern Brazil, his father passed away when Leonardo was young. Always passionate about the army, Leonardo enrolled at a military training college, Escola de Sargentos das Armas, where friends and family recalled how tireless and hard-working Leonardo was, adding that he wouldn’t be seen for days because he was busy with his studies.
Leonardo entered the Brazilian Army in 2000 after graduation and went on to have a decade-long career serving in São Vicente, then Lins, and finally with the 5th Infantry Battalion in Lorena, where he was stationed before he left for Haiti.
Described by friends and colleagues as “kind and courageous,” in MINUSTAH Leonardo was in charge of humanitarian functions and security patrols.
Colleagues said he enrolled in every kind of training course that was made available. “He wanted to learn things that he couldn’t at home,” added a family member.
“Participating in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti was his dream. He was there to help,” said his girlfriend.
“He wanted to help the world,” said his mother. “He was very sorry for the things he saw there, especially for the situation of children.”
Leonardo was well known and beloved in his birth city of São João del Rey, where he was several times the regional motocross champion.
A ceremony was held on 22 January at the Brasilia Air Base to honour Leonardo and his fallen colleagues, which was attended by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and First Lady Marisa Letícia. President Lula called their work with MINUSTAH “the noblest humanitarian mission ever carried out by the Brazilian Armed Forces”.
Leonardo and his colleagues posthumously received a promotion and the Peacemaker Medal from their country for outstanding acts of courage and bravery under lifethreatening circumstances.
Leonardo was buried in São João del Rey and at his funeral the mayor noted his bravery and honourable service and called for three days of mourning.
Leonardo is survived by his mother Leandra, his sister, his girlfriend Patricia, and an extended family.