BAYONNE AND BEYOND -- U.S. Army Specialist Rafael A. Nieves, who died while serving on active duty in Afghanistan last week, will be flown in for a wake and funeral services in Hudson County. Nieves, who grew up in Bayonne, died of wounds suffered when small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle during a mounted patrol in the Afghan province of Paktika on July 10. He was assigned to the First Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. He was 22 years old. His mother resides in Bayonne.
A wake will be held at Migliaccio Funeral Home at 851 JFK Boulevard in Bayonne on Wednesday, July 20 from 3 to 9 p.m. and the funeral will be held at St. Aloyious Church 691 W Side Avenue in Jersey City at 10 a.m. on July 21.
“On behalf of all Bayonne residents, I express my sympathies to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Specialist Rafael Nieves,” said Mayor Mark Smith. “We join them in mourning the death of this brave soldier and we honor his service to our nation.”
Acting Governor Kim Guadagno issued Executive Order No. 70 ordering all United States and New Jersey flags lowered to half staff on Monday, July 18, in honor of Specialist Nieves.
Neives attended local schools before moving to upstate New York to go to high school. He was married with two children.
Nieves Jr. is survived by his wife, Sarah A. McKinney, his daughter, Emma Grace Nieves; his son, Rafael A. Nieves III, of Oak Grove, Ky.; his father, Rafael A. Nieves Sr. of Schenectady, N.Y.; and his mother, Tina R. Roman of Bayonne.