I get emails like this a little too often. Usually they don’t hit quite as close.
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lt. Jeffrey A. Ammon, 37, of Orem, Utah, died May 20, as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device in the Aband District, Afghanistan. The sailor was attached to Commander Navy Region Northwest, Bangor, Wash., and serving in Afghanistan as a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni.
Meaning the guy was on a boat (qualified USS Alabama (Blue) in 2005), got yanked from his shore tour, and served in a province town of about a hundred and forty thousand people. What was he doing? Being a smart nuke. Building hospital emergency rooms and working microloans and doing, quite frankly, all the good work that people who don’t like me when I walk around town in uniform say need doing.
Nereus has a good tribute to this man.
These beliefs I hold strongly:
- It is not enough to put a picture of this man on some list, or recite the name, disconnected from the achievements. Why this man did what he did, why he took the risk that he took, why others who risk and come back unscathed, is as important. You have to live for something. Sometimes ideas mean things, including your life. This man paid for something he thought important. Respect that thought. The man who thinks that Westerners like Ammon “worship life” do not understand us: we like the gift life is, and we value it enough to spend it when necessary instead of throw it away or needlessly destroy it. I’ll mourn that this man died; I’ll honor and respect that this man lived.
- Ammon died in tough circumstances doing important work. His family will have tougher circumstances over a longer time doing the important work of absorbing this loss and living. I wish them well and hope their path is eased.
Finally, a note from the family, found on a hometown newspaper site linked above.
Robert Ammon | 10:47 p.m. May 23, 2008
On behalf of my family, I want to that everyone for their sympathy and condolences. He will be sorely missed by all. My baby brother was in Afghanistan because he believed that he could help the people there. To him it was never about the politics, but helping the Afghan people to help themselves. His highest priority was the children, he wanted to do anything that he could to help all of them to have a better life.
Sailor, rest your oar.