Faith R. Hinkley

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army Sgt. Faith R. Hinkley


Army Sgt. Faith R. Hinkley

Died August 7, 2010 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


 

Faith
Faith

Faith was born July 16, 1987 in Alamosa, Colo. to David and Annavee Hinkley.

Faith enjoyed a variety of activities. She was very active in Rainbow Girls, serving as Worthy Advisor of the Monte Vista Assembly, Grand Hope of Colorado Rainbow. Faith was active in her Sunday School Class, attended Vacation Bible School and was an instructor and helper. She also belonged to Girl Scouts. Faith was involved in sports and was an honor student in middle school.

During high school, Faith was a cheerleader for four years and was on the golf team for one year. She belonged to several clubs and organizations including Young Life, FBLA, Student Council, FCCLA, Peer Mediation and Key Club.

Faith also was in the color guard for the Monte Vista State Champion Marching Band, and was the 2006 Band Sweetheart and 2005 Homecoming Senior Attendant.

The general said Faith was instrumental in developing a relationship with Iraqi intelligence and also was instrumental in finding a weapons cache that contained materials for building IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices.”

Pasquarelli then said that, in addition to her posthumous promotion, Faith had been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
A letter from her supervising officer said Faith was seldom seen without a smile on her face, an infectious smile that made others feel good to be around her.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“She had the courage to face any challenge,” he said, noting that she had posted the highest score, 126 points, on the promotion board.
“Faith is a true American hero, a true soldier, a true warriors, never to be forgotten.” The letter also conveyed heartfelt condolences to the family from the entire U.S. military.

Young women who had been Faith’s friends from childhood wept openly, along with their older relatives. People carrying U.S. flags lined the roadways and stood alongside the fence at the San Luis Valley Regional Airport-Bergman Field in Alamosa.

Youthful soldiers, many with combat ribbons on their chests, stood at attention until it was time to do their assigned duty of the day, then marched to a special gurney next to the small charter jet.

As a sergeant barked orders, they stepped forward in unison and grabbed handles of the dark wooden coffin, then marched in step to a waiting hearse.

Members of the Patriot Guard stood at attention, saluting and preparing to mount their motorcycles and become part of the solemn procession from Alamosa to the Presbyterian Church in Monte Vista.

Courtesy of: NorthShoreJournal.org

 

Christopher L. Camero

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero

Died July 12, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


 

Christopher L. Camero
Christopher L. Camero

Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero, 19, from the Big Island of Hawaii, died Friday of wounds suffered in combat with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. Camero had been injured July 6 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. In June, Taliban insurgents increased attacks against coalition forces in northern Helmand, in an apparent bid to regain lost territory.

Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero came from a military family, and as a young boy he was always saluting, relatives told West Hawaii Today newspaper.

His aunt, Florida Ballio, said Camero emigrated from the Philippines at about age five and grew up in Waimea, where he enjoyed to cook, fish and play football, judo and wrestling. (The Defense Department had reported that Camero’s hometown was Kailua-Kona.)

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero
Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero

“He would always goes fishing with his father whenever he had the time,” Ballio told the Hawaii newspaper. “I’m really trying to cope with it,” she added, speaking of Camero as if he were alive: “he’s a very, very good boy. Very active.”

Camero family
Camero family

A friend who attended boot camp with Camero wrote on his web site: “His lifelong goal was to become a Marine, and his childhood dream came true. … On July 6th, I heard you were hit badly by an IED (improvised explosive device,) and I prayed for you.”I will never forget you or any of the stunts we pulled.”

His personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Courtesy of Gretel C. Kovach of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Anthony O Magee

Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee

Died April 27, 2010 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


HATTIESBURG — Sgt. Anthony O. Magee, 29, of Hattiesburg, returned home for the final time when a Kalitta Charters jet carrying his flag-draped coffin touched down at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport at 7:22 a.m. Friday.

Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee
Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee

Magee died April 27 from wounds suffered three days earlier when his unit came under indirect fire at Contingency Operating Base Kasul in Iskandariyah, Iraq. He was a member of the United

States Army’s 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga.

Magee is the second soldier from the Hattiesburg area killed in a 20-day span during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spc. William Anthony Blount, 21, of Petal was killed April 7 by a roadside explosive device in Mosul, Iraq.

“This is something we should do,” said Maxine Coleman, neighborhood coordinator for the city, who stood at Pine Street and Second Avenue to pay her respects as the funeral procession passed. “He gave his life for our freedom.

“I can’t imagine what his family is going through. It could have been my son. I have kids that age.”

About 25 members of Magee’s family were at the edge of the airport tarmac Friday, one grasping a small American flag that rippled in the breeze.

The Mississippi Honor Guard Team from Jackson met Magee’s casket at the airport.

An escort of law enforcement from Hattiesburg Police Department, Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, Petal Police Department, University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, followed by a formation of Patriot Guard Riders, led the procession down I-59.

Anthony O. Magee
Anthony O. Magee family

The halls of Hattiesburg High were silent Friday morning as students filed along Hutchinson Avenue to catch a glimpse of the hearse.

As Leisha Weathersby stood outside, she had nothing but kind words to say about Magee, whom she taught in her Algebra I class when he was a ninth-grader.

“He was one of the nicest people,” she said. “He was sincere and hard-working in and out of school. This is a bittersweet moment. It was an honor and privilege to teach him, and I wish I had 101 students like him.”

Magee is survived by his mother and father, Patricia and Tony Davis; three siblings; his wife, Courtney Magee; and his 5-year-old son, Kameron Johnson,

The funeral of Sgt. Anthony Magee’s will be 1 p.m. today at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Eastabuchie, with burial in Venia Park in Collins.

Source: Clarion Ledger May 8, 2010

Additional Source: Military Times

Sheldon Hawk Eagle

Army Pfc. Sheldon Hawk Eagle

Died November 15, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


 

Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle
Army Private First Class
Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle

Army Private First Class Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle, 21. Her nephew was quiet and loyal, a mature young man who gave every decision careful thought, says Turner, who helped raise him after his parents died. “He didn’t jump into anything,” she recalls. “He was very meticulous and organized.” Sheldon was from Grand Forks, North Dakota and was a member assigned to the, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed Nov. 15 when two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq.

Sheldon was killed from injuries suffered during combat operations in Iraq. Sheldon Hawk Eagle was a talented artist who loved to draw and paint, and a classic car buff who knew every model he saw on the road. Hawk Eagle also adored kids and talked about a career in child psychology, and looking forward to using the Post 9-11 GI Bill. Our Eagle soars with wings, today.

If you listen closely, you will hear the angels pray.

He’ll be watching from above Still sharing of his love. “Our nation owes him our utmost gratitude and earnest thanks. To his sister, grandfather, the elders and friends of his Native American Tribe. Know that your precious one loved his family and country deeply. Private First Class Hawk Eagle joins the thousands who have given, so that you and I might enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.”


The Wings Of An Eagle

Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle
Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle

Sheldon Ray Hawk Eagle of Grand Forks, North Dakota was carried to the Heart of

All that is, Paha Sapa, the Black Hills and laid to rest as

Warrior with honor, dignity and respect.

The coffin and the pall bearers were purified with

Sweet grass. Each of the twelve, wore yellow ribbons

Tied around their arms.

The Lakota people are a warrior people. It is an honor

To be a warrior and protect your land, your freedom and

Your family. Because they were here first,

They love the land more than any other race.

This Lakota Warrior made the ultimate sacrifice

For both his Nations.

For 18 hours, an overnight vigil, hundreds of Tribal

Members listened to both Christian and Lakota

Prayers and honor songs by drum groups.

There were giveaways and feasts.

At sunrise, a two hour funeral, followed by a three

Hour procession, carried Hawk Eagle’s body

One hundred and fifty miles to the Black Hills,

The heart of all there is in Lakota tradition.

Color guards from the Cheyenne River, Rosebud,

Standing Rock, Oglala and Sisseton Wahpeton

Tribes bore the flags of the Nations.

Proof of the family’s goodwill was evident,

When they began giving away jars, vases, and

Baskets of flowers that had been sent.

They handed out bouquets to the elders and then

One flower for each of the mourners to press in the

Memorial program in remembrance.

Pillows, towels, baskets bowls and household goods

Were passed out to the hundreds in attendance.

Giveaways are traditional among the nations during

Important occasions. It is the Lakota way.

Sheldon’s sister, Frankie and their relatives,

Stood to drape stack after stack of

Lakota Star quilts over friends and elders.

The Lakota have a relationship, with the Big Dipper

Constellation. In Lakota culture, it is said to help the

Deceased on their way to the spirit world.

The family completed the giveaway and faced the east.

Mitakuye Oyasin, all my relatives, began the elder.

Tunkasila, (grandfather)

We pray for this day, your wisdom and not our own.

We pray for one mind and one spirit.

Sheldon descends from Tshunka Witko.

Chief Crazy Horse who helped defeat

Lt. Col.George Armstrong Custer, at the

Battle of Greasy Creek (Little Big Horn).

As he was being buried, a Black Hawk helicopter flew

Over the cemetery, lingered in the snowy hills.

It flew into the heart of all that is,

And was gone.

~~Somehow, it did not seem like enough. ~~

Our Eagle soars with wings, today.

If you listen closely, you will hear the

Angels pray.

He’ll be watching from above

Still sharing of his love.

Additional sources: CBSNews.com & MilitaryTimes.com

Scott A. Saboe

Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe

Died November 15, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


Scott Saboe, 33, was born and raised in Willow Lake, South Dakota graduating from high school in 1989. His father, Arlo, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said he had not been told much about what happened.

Saboe was a serious, committed man who planned a military career, friends said.

Scott A. Saboe
Scott A. Saboe

“He died doing what he loved, and he was a dedicated soldier. That’s all there is to it,” said Bill Stobbs, a former teacher and football coach who now is the principal at Willow Lake.

Saboe played center on the football team and was on the basketball and track teams.

Willow Lake pulled together to support Saboe’s father, Stobbs said.

“Soon as people heard the news, there was just person after person showing up at his house,” Stobbs said.

Willow Lake farmer Curwin Bratland, a high school friend, said a group of friends recently sent a greeting card to Saboe in Iraq.

“I wrote to him, said I’m very proud of him and everything that they’ve done,” Bratland said. “I said I hope he gets back, and we’ll have a cold one together.”

Scott Saboe “was giving his all and believing what he was doing,” said Darin Michalski, a childhood friend. “That’s what makes me most proud of him, I guess. Most of us can go through our whole lives and don’t really accomplish anything and some of us only live to be 33, and we’re heroes.”


Funeral held for soldier killed in Iraq

WILLOW LAKE, S.D. — a crowd estimated at more than 600 attended the funeral Wednesday for Chief Warrant Officer 2 Scott Saboe, a Willow Lake soldier killed Nov. 15 in the crash of two Army helicopters in Iraq.

Saboe, 33, was described as soldier who served his country proudly.

Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) Scott A. Saboe
101st Airborne Division

Capt. John Butora of the 101st Airborne Division said Saboe was “the best and brightest pilot we had, he was always the guy we’d turn to in a pinch.”

Saboe always kept his comrades upbeat in difficult situations, Butora said.

“He leaves behind a legacy of faith, honor and service to his country,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Campbell. “His name joins other American who gave their lives to preserve our freedom.”

The funeral will be held in the Willow Lake School gym.

The 1989 Willow Lake High School graduate was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously before being buried with full military honors.

Saboe is survived by his wife, Franceska, and 6-year-old son, Dustin, of Newton, Ala.

Seventeen soldiers were killed in the crash.


Life Legacy

Arlo was born on November 12, 1970 at DeSmet, SD, the son of Arlo and Linda (Yexley) Saboe. He grew to adulthood in the Willow Lake community attending Willow Lake grade school and graduating from high school in 1989. While attending high school he worked for Floyd Mundhenke, even going out there for a day or so when he was home on leave from the service. On September 12, 1989 he enlisted in the United States Army taking his boot camp training at Ft. Dix, NJ. He completed AIT at Ft. Dix, NJ and was also stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA. He also served on the base at Ramstein, Germany where he was the postmaster and also was the Post Commanders driver.

Following that he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC in the 82nd Airborne. He was one a few survivors of the Ft. Hope, NC accident and was promoted ahead of others due to his willingness to work.

Scott A. Saboe
Scott A. Saboe

On October 22, 1994 he was united in marriage to Franceska Kabet at Raleigh, NC. They moved to Boise, Idaho where he was an Army recruiter and also so he could hunt. On May 4, 1997, a son, Dustin Scott Saboe was born, which Scott was in awe of. He also attended his little Sisters graduation from ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft. Lewis, WA in 1998. He also took her 1st Salute at Brookings, SD.

He was selected to become a warrant officer and was an honor graduate at Ft. Rucker. He chose to fly a Blackhawk because it was the most versatile. He went to Ft. Stanley, Korea, flew over the DMZ, which he volunteered for due to the ability to get many hours in the air. He wanted to be the best of the best. In early 2002, he was transferred to Ft. Campbell and became a part of the 101st Airborne Division.

In February of this year he was deployed to Operations Iraqi where he was the lead command pilot for the Blackhawks. Recently he had been selected to go to Blackhawk instructor school at Ft. Rucker.

Some of his awards, honors and other decorations he has received are the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and the Army Oversees Service Ribbon. At today’s services, he will be awarded posthumous, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Some of his fondest moments though were spent hunting and fishing and spending quality time with his Dad.


Memorial Service

Grateful for having shared his life is his wife Franceska and son Dustin of Newton, Alabama, Father, Arlo Saboe of Willow Lake, a sister, Ann & Mike Remington and Breanna of Silver Spring, MD, Maternal Grandparents, Ernest and Helen Yexley of Bradley, Paternal Grandmother, Borghild Saboe of Bryant and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Preceding him in death was his Mother, Linda Saboe in 2000, Paternal Grandfather, Clarence Saboe in 1985 and an Uncle, Jean Saboe in 2001.

This memorial provided by: Furness Funeral Home

Sources: Associated Press, Military Times

Kevin J. Griffin

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin — September 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died August 8, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin
Army Command Sgt. Maj.
Kevin J. Griffin

CASPER, Wyo. — Relatives of a Wyoming soldier who was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan remember him as a man who was intensely dedicated to the military and to his family.

The Defense Department said Thursday that 45-year-old Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, who grew up in Riverton, was killed Wednesday.

Dustin Griffin, the soldier’s nephew, told the Casper Star-Tribune he would never forget the time his uncle took him to Fort Carson in Colorado when he was 10 and let him sit in a military tank.

“He was definitely 100 percent Army,” Dustin Griffin said. “He was all about the Army. … He lived it.”

Meanwhile, Shawn Griffin described his brother — a 24-year Army veteran and father of two — as someone who loved his family even more than the military, adding that Kevin Griffin was a “very competitive, fun-loving, real adventurous-type kid” growing up.

Kevin Griffin competed on the Riverton High School wrestling team and won a state championship before attending Northwest Community College in Powell. He transferred to the University of Wyoming after two years, joined the military and continued to wrestle for the Army.

During his Army career, he served three tours in Iraq and had been deployed to Kuwait and the Balkans. Griffin was on a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed.

Kevin J. Griffin
Kevin J. Griffin

“He truly believed in what he was doing, and that’s the one solace that we kind of get out of this,” Shawn Griffin said. “He was where he wanted to be.”

Wednesday’s attack also killed Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35, of West Point, N.Y.; Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga.; and USAID Foreign Service officer Ragaei Abdelfattah.

Griffin and Kennedy were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson.

Gray was an air liaison officer and flight commander for the Fort Carson-based 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, which is part of the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing headquartered at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.


Griffin remembered as father figure

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin
Army Command Sgt. Maj.
Kevin J. Griffin

The Gazette reported that Lt. Col. Scott Mueller said at the memorial service Tuesday that the Army’s culture of structure and discipline were a perfect fit for Griffin, but Griffin also would often joke with his troops.

Mueller remembered how Griffin would suggest a trip to the golf course right when his soldier evaluations were due. And Mueller smirked when Griffin then offered a shot or two of tequila.

“Griff was an inspirational leader, like a father to his troops,” Mueller said. “Kevin always had a way of keeping people focused through laughter.”

Kevin Griffin’s son, Sgt. Dane Griffin, and his nephew Spc. Derek Griffin each joined the military in his footsteps.

“He didn’t want us to go, but he was proud at the same time,” Derek Griffin said.

After the service at Fort Carson, a procession traveled from the Army post outside Colorado Springs to Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver for his burial.

Scores of people dabbed their eyes under graying skies while others wept softly during the memorial service.

“The Army in this country has lost a great soldier and a champion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jody Heikkinen.

“Let us hold their service dear,” said Lt. Col. Keith Goode. “Let us make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain.”

The three men received a 21-gun salute before a single trumpet broke the silence.

Source: Military Times

Jennifer J. Harris

Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris — September 2013 Shipment Honoree

Died February 7, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


The Early Years

Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
November 6, 1978 ~ February 7, 2007

Jennifer Jean Harris was born on November 6, 1978, to Rosalie and Ray Harris of Swampscott, Massachusetts. As a young child she developed a determination to overcome obstacles in achieving her goals and a compassion for others. She was serious yet full of enthusiasm, and as she grew, so did her enthusiasm for life. That enthusiasm and her beautiful smile were contagious to those around her.

Her high school yearbook quote reflects her core values of hard work, excellence, compassion and service to others:

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” -Marie Curie

As a senior in high school, she learned about the military academies. They intrigued her as she wanted a different college experience, different from the four-year traditional model. After visiting the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and receiving appointments to both, she selected the Naval Academy. Her multifarious interests, her passion for serving others and her love of sailing combined to draw her to Annapolis.

The Naval Academy Years

Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Capt. Jennifer J. Harris

During her senior year at Swampscott High School, Jennifer volunteered at Congressman Peter Torkildsen’s office and developed a love of politics. She went on to become a Political Science major at The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is an undergraduate college that educates and commissions officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The mission at USNA is “to develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.”

On July 2, 1996, Induction Day (I-Day), Jen began her new life at the United States Naval Academy with a rigorous day of medical examinations, uniform fittings, equipment issue, completing paperwork, getting her first Plebe haircut, and being assigned to a Brigade of Midshipmen military unit – Echo Company – for Plebe Summer. Jen took her Oath of Office to become a U.S. Navy Midshipman during the evening Oath of Office Ceremony in the court yard of Bancroft Hall, thus officially becoming a Midshipman and beginning her Plebe Summer Training. Jen’s USNA Class of 2000 comprised 1,212 Midshipmen 4th Class (Freshmen), 16.5% or 200 of which were women.

During Jen’s Plebe year her Company, 9th Company, was selected to be the Color Company based on its accomplishments. As a member of the Color Company she was present at the December 1997 Army-Navy Game for President Bill Clinton’s review and she participated in his inauguration in January 1998.

For the remainder of her years at USNA, Jen was in 18th Company. Her activities at the Naval Academy included membership on two athletic teams — the USNA Power Lifting Team, and the USNA Intercollegiate (IC) Sailing Team, where she raced Lasers. She also continued her commitment to others through the community service activities of being a Religious Education instructor at The USNA Chapel and by participating in Toys for Tots, a program she started replicating the one of her hometown in Swampscott, MA.

In the Summer of 1998, as a Midshipmen 2nd Class (Junior), she was a member of a cadre of First and Second Class Midshipmen, known as Detailers, providing leadership and training for the incoming 4th Class Midshipmen, the Class of 2002. In this role she was a Squad Leader assigned to 10 Plebes for Plebe Summer making sure they were trained in the Naval Academy tradition and ensuring they were physically and mentally fit.

Jen’s leadership skills continued to develop and as a “Firstie” (Midshipmen 1st Class, a Senior), she was chosen to be a “Brigade Striper”, a much-respected position of leadership and responsibility within the Brigade of Midshipmen. The Brigade consists of 30 companies and the Midshipman Command Structure is made up of First Class Midshipmen selected for their outstanding leadership performance.

During the Class of 2000 Commissioning Week, she received a Political Science Department Award for her accomplishments and enjoyed with her family many of the Commissioning Week activities leading up to Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies. On May 24, 2000, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD, Jen graduated with her Class following which she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Marine Years

Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris

During her years at the Academy, Jen’s upper-class Midshipmen and role models, who were going to become Marines, impressed her. They are the reason she chose to become a United States Marine Corps Officer and pilot. Like the Marines who consider themselves “The Best of the Best,” Jen always set high standards and goals for herself and worked hard to accomplish them.

Following graduation from USNA and her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Jen went to The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia. At TBS, she spent 6 months training and developing the professional knowledge and skills necessary to effectively lead Marines under her command. After graduating from TBS, Jen reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. While there, she completed physical training and courses in engineering, air navigation, aviation physiology and water survival. After completing her training, Jen reported for primary flight training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, TX where she was trained to fly the T-34 turbo propeller, fixed-wing aircraft.

Upon completing primary flight training, Jen was selected to fly helicopters, which brought her to Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, FL. As a member of Helicopter Training Squadron Eight (HT-8) Jen completed a rigorous program and earned her coveted Wings of Gold on September 13, 2002.

Upon completing her CH-46 training, Jen was assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron HMM-364, Purple Foxes, and immediately deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). HMM-364 is a legendary squadron. In Vietnam, they became famous for repeatedly going into harm’s way, under any conditions, in order to evacuate the wounded. That dedication continued in OIF.

During her time with HMM-364, Jen was chosen to attend The Weapons and Tactics Instructor’s Course (WTI), the Marine equivalent to Top Gun training. Jen was the first deployed female pilot in the Purple Foxes Squadron and served three tours of duty in Iraq. While she was with the Purple Foxes, she was promoted twice; first to the rank of First Lieutenant, and then to the rank of Captain.

During Jen’s first OIF tour with the Purple Foxes at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003, her enlisted Marines affectionately dubbed her “The Dove”. While on her daily exercise runs she would hear some of the enlisted say, “There goes the dove.” She learned that they were referring to her as she ran by and was told that this was because they considered her “the prettiest and calmest thing in a war zone.”

Substantiating this image was a fellow Marine Corps pilot’s wife who said, “Jen was grace under pressure. She was gentle and peaceful, beautiful and elegant. At the same time she was strong, confidant, motivated and humbly commanded the utmost respect of all those around her. She was courageous.”

As a casualty evacuation pilot, Jen saved countless lives. According to her Commanding Officer, “Jennifer brought out the best in those around her because she was so demanding of herself, yet understanding of others. She believed in her mission as a helicopter pilot and dedicated fourteen and fifteen hour days while deployed in Iraq to ensure that every mission was well coordinated and executed as safely as possible. She watched out for the young pilots in the squadron and took them under her wing. She used to kid that she was their mother hen. She was equally protective of her peers and those senior to her. She was after all, a Purple Fox. She was always professional but managed to make things pleasant with her endearing personality.”

On February 7, 2007, on the very last flight of her third deployment, only days before coming home, and after completing a successful casualty evacuation mission, Captain Jennifer J. Harris was killed in action when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down by insurgents. That day and many days before it, the Dove flew so others could live.

The Symbol of the Purple Butterfly

The butterfly has long symbolized new life. Aztec beliefs include a belief in an afterlife where the spirit of the dead returns as butterflies. In the Aztec tradition, two addition beliefs related to Monarch Butterflies are known- they are believed to be the incarnation of fallen warriors wearing their colors of battle; they carry the soul of the fallen warrior.

While visiting Jen’s resting place on the 7th month anniversary of her passing (7 September 2007), a monarch butterfly arose from behind her headstone and encircled her loved ones, Linda and Laura, again and again, as if she were giving them hugs. Shortly after that, at a memorial service for four Service Academy women killed that year in service to their country, a maquette called “Woman Soar: Porcelain on Steel” was presented to each family with Linda accepting the Harris/Macone Maquette. The artist who created the Maquettes worked with the Aztec beliefs stated above. Her inspiration came from watching the emergence of a monarch from its jeweled jade chrysalis while she was painting a mirror at the Long Beach Veterans hospital.

The purple butterfly symbolizes Jen’s life by blending the Aztec beliefs and the family’s experiences with Jen’s squadron, HMM-364, the Purple Foxes. This symbol, the purple butterfly, has, therefore, special meaning for Jen’s family and friends.

Written by Linda Macone and Laura M. Ventimiglia

The Dove Story

Captain Jennifer J. Harris has become widely known as “The Dove”. It seems that people created their own explanations for how and where this nickname originated. According to Jen, as she told her Aunt Linda and her other family members, at the time she became aware of people referring to her as “The Dove” she was stationed at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait in 2003. On her daily exercise runs she would hear some of the enlisted say, “There goes the dove.” She had been told that they said this because they considered her “The prettiest and calmest thing in a war zone.” Corroborating this explanation are several people who either served with Jen or had relatives served with Jen during her first deployment to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom I.

Article by Seven Stars Foundation


Marine killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, a Swampscott woman and Naval Academy graduate, died when the helicopter she was piloting crashed Feb. 7 in a field northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board.

Harris, 28, a graduate of Swampscott High School, was on her third tour and was scheduled to be home next week, said Jim Schultz, the town veterans’ agent.

“She was a great kid,” he said.

Harris was the second Swampscott resident to die in Iraq in the last six months and is believed to be the first woman from Massachusetts to die in the war. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, died when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.

“Jennifer Harris exemplified the best of what this country has to offer,” a statement released by family spokesman Anthony Macone said. “She had a passion for life and was a compassionate human being.”

Macone declined to comment further when contacted by The Associated Press.

Harris graduated from the Naval Academy in 2000, after choosing the difficult path of training as a Marine officer, Schultz said.

“She liked to take on the challenges,” Schultz said.

The crash that killed Harris remains under investigation, with conflicting reports of what caused the transport helicopter to go down. A U.S. military statement gave no reason for the crash of the CH-46 Sea Knight, which went down near Fallujah in Anbar province, about 20 miles from Baghdad. Marine Corps officials at the Pentagon said the aircraft was in flames when it went down, but there was no sign that it involved hostile fire.

An Iraqi air force officer, however, said the helicopter was downed by an anti-aircraft missile. An al-Qaida-linked group, the Islamic State in Iraq, claimed on its Web site that it shot down the helicopter.


Marine pilot killed in Iraq buried in Swampscott

The Associated Press

SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — The first servicewoman from Massachusetts to be killed in the Iraq war was buried with full military honors Monday, less than two weeks after the helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down.

Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, 28, was taken by horse-drawn hearse to a funeral service at St. John the Evangelist Church. Bagpipes played as Marines in full uniform carried her casket inside.

The eulogy was delivered by Lt. Rose Gascinski, who roomed with Harris at the Naval Academy before Harris, of Swampscott, graduated in 2000. Harris then choose the difficult path of training as a Marine officer.

Speaking before the service, Gascinski said Harris earned the nickname “Dove” at the Naval Academy for her calm demeanor in the face of adversity. Gascinski said those qualities would have served Harris well when the Marine CH-46 troop transport she was piloting went down northwest of Baghdad on Feb. 7.

“I was thinking that if I wanted anybody to be my pilot in that moment, I would want it to be her,” Gascinski said.

All seven people on board the helicopter were killed. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, and aired a video.

Harris’ body arrived home Thursday, accompanied by a Marine escort, Maj. Christopher Aaby, her fiance.

Harris, a graduate of Swampscott High School, had been on her third tour in Iraq. She was scheduled to return home the week after she was killed.

Harris was the second Swampscott resident to be killed in Iraq in the last six months. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, was killed when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb on Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.

Source Military Times: Honor The Fallen