Private Felipe Goncalves Julio, 1987-2010
Third Sergeant Felipe Gonçalves Julio, a national of Brazil, was deployed to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). He was originally stationed with the 5th Light Infantry Battalion of Lorena, where he was born.
From an early age, Felipe, whose family has a long history of serving the armed forces, longed for a military career and joined a military school. One of his grandfathers fought in World War II and his older brother Fábio Rian is a military police officer.
Felipe was “on a mission of peace representing Brazil and doing important work that has made everyone proud,” his brother said.
His mother, Ruth, was particularly pleased of the fact that Felipe was involved in ensuring the safety of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Brazil in 2007.
During his six-month peacekeeping mission in Port-au- Prince, Felipe had daily online chats with his girlfriend Camila. True to his caring nature, his last message on his online profile was to her. It read: “Even if some day our lives are apart... my love for you is eternal.”
Felipe enjoyed all aspects of life. Friends, family and colleagues described him as “fun and full of joy.” He loved the beach, live music, cars, and social gatherings and was always challenging himself with new experiences. Those close to him said Felipe approached every action with energy and enthusiasm.
Two video tributes were posted online featuring photos sent by his loved ones. They depicted the two sides of Felipe: one, a serious and devoted man dedicated to his military profession, and the other, a sociable young man who was a friend to many. “He was up for anything, and was liked by everyone he met,” a friend said, emphasizing that Felipe’s spontaneity and optimism would always be remembered.
At a funeral service in his hometown, friends and family wore t-shirts saying: “Your smile will never be forgotten. You are our hero.”
“He was dedicated to doing everything he set his mind to,” said a family member. “His loss was a shock, but we will always carry him with us in our thoughts.”
A ceremony was held on 22 January at the Brasilia Air Base to honour Felipe 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.”
Felipe and his colleagues posthumously received a promotion and the Peacemaker Medal from his country for outstanding acts of courage and bravery under life-threatening circumstances.
Felipe is survived by his parents, older brother Fábio Rian, and partner Camila.