update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Pentagon identifies deceased reserve soldier tied to Jerusalem embassy

"Lt. Col. Orlando Bandeira, 54, of Tampa, Fla., died March 4, 2024, as a result of a non-combat related incident," the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Lt. Col. Orlando Bandeira, 54, of Tampa, Fla., named on March 8, 2024,  by the Pentagon as the employee of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem who died on March 4, 2024. Source: Orlando Bandeira/Facebook.
Lt. Col. Orlando Bandeira, 54, of Tampa, Fla., named on March 8, 2024, by the Pentagon as the employee of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem who died on March 4, 2024. Source: Orlando Bandeira/Facebook.

The U.S. Department of Defense identified Lt. Col. Orlando Bandeira, 54, of Tampa, Fla., as the U.S. employee connected to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, who was found dead in his apartment on March 4.

Bandeira was a “U.S. Army Reserve soldier who was supporting the U.S. security staff for the Department of State, U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,” the Pentagon said.

It added that Bandeira, who was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 94th Training Division in Indianapolis, died “as a result of a non-combat related incident.”

“The incident is under investigation,” the Pentagon said.

Per his LinkedIn page, Bandeira began serving as deputy chief of operations for the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in February—a position about which he posted on LinkedIn a week ago.

He was also an intel analyst at Cyntel Technologies and a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, and was an alumnus of Federal University of Paraíba, in Brazil, per his LinkedIn.

Justin Belill posted on Facebook that he had lost his best friend. “He was a soldier; brave, true to his word and gave 100% to his friends, family and country,” Belill wrote. “He died in honor of defending our great nation. We were roommates for almost seven years in Tampa. He left behind a beautiful daughter, Sophia. Nobody can replace you, Orlando. I love you, bro.”

After his post was quoted in international news outlets, Belill added on March 7: “He was born in Brazil and came to the U.S.A. after working for Mercy Ships. He arrived in Galveston, Texas, at 20-years-old, not knowing any English.”

“He moved to New Jersey and worked for Domino’s Pizza, making hundreds of pizzas a night, seven days a week—a job he said he loved!” Belill wrote. “He joined the Army and learned English in basic training of all places (*insert a funny story here about this*)!”

“He became an American citizen, the biggest honor of his life, according to him,” Belill added. “He moved his mother here, got married and had a daughter. He was my best friend.”

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