Jason C. Ramseyer
Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 347-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2006
Media Contact: Marine Corps Public Affairs - (703) 614-4309 Public/Industry(703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Staff Sergeant Jason C. Ramseyer, 28, of Lenoir, North Carolina, died April 20 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Media with questions about this Marine can call the Hawaii Public Affairs
Office at (808) 257-8870/71
This was supposed to be the last deployment.
Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Jason Ramseyer had already returned safely from a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Now he was in Iraq, in charge of a squad providing security for the battalion commander. He hoped he could finish his tour by October and return home to his wife, Mandy, whom he'd known since their high school days in Lenoir, and their daughters, ages 3 and 2.
On Tuesday, in what would be their last conversation, Ramseyer talked about his plans with Mandy, back at base in Hawaii. She told him she'd been with him for nine years and gone wherever he had gone, and she was prepared to keep doing that.
On one condition: that his next assignment keep him home. "That's all I wanted," she said Saturday.
Mandy Ramseyer was still in shock Saturday. She was two days into the news. Jason Ramseyer was killed Thursday when the device he was checking along a road in Anbar province exploded, wounding two other Marines under his command. He was 28.
"There's no way," said Mandy Ramseyer, also 28, "to put it into words."
Jason Ramseyer, a 1996 graduate of West Caldwell High School in Lenoir, will be buried sometime this week in Arlington National Cemetery after services in Lenoir, Mandy Ramseyer said. The details are incomplete.
He was born in West Palm Beach, Fla., but moved to Lenoir with his parents in 1990, before he started middle school. His mother, Cindy Hicks of Claremont, said he was a perfect child: The only time Jason ever got into trouble was as a teenager, when he was caught fishing without a license.
It became clear during his high school years that Jason, though small, was a competitor. He excelled at wrestling, soccer and especially baseball, and he pushed himself to excel at everything he tried, his family and an old teammate said.
"When he did something, he wanted to do his best," said Joe Greer, who was two years behind Jason at West Caldwell and played with him on the baseball team.
Even then, Jason talked about the Marines. More than that -- it was almost all he could talk about. He pre-enlisted, Hicks said, and two weeks after graduation was off to basic training.
"It was amazing to me, for someone in high school to be so excited about being in the Marines, with people telling you what to do and where to go and everything. That's kind of like the opposite of what you want in high school," Greer said. "And that's what amazed me, when I'd run into him later, that it was everything he'd wanted it to be."
Jason's family agreed: He loved the Marines. Hicks thinks it may be because her son grew to only 5 feet 7 inches, and he felt a need to prove his toughness. Whatever the reason, he'd found his calling.
"If you look up `Marine,' " Mandy Ramseyer said, "you'll see him."
His last deployment began March 9, 2006. His job was to lead a squad escorting Lieutenant Colonel Norm Cooling, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, from place to place in Iraq. He took the job seriously, as he did everything else, Mandy said.
A Marine Corps Major told her the squad had just dropped Cooling off at a meeting and was headed back to base when Jason got out of his Humvee to check an object in the road, as he had dozens of times before. If he suspected a bomb, he'd call a bomb squad.
This time, he never got the chance. The device was remote-controlled, and Jason didn't even have time to take cover.
Hicks, who works as a paralegal in Hickory, got an urgent call from her husband that afternoon. He told her to come home immediately.
When she arrived, she knew. Two Marines were waiting. Her son had told her: If Marines ever show up at your door, it doesn't mean I'm injured.
She thought, too, about what he'd told her and Mandy before his deployment to Afghanistan. He was packing, and he insisted on showing them the precise spot on his uniform for each of his 10 medals. Neither woman wanted to hear it or even think about it.
But Jason said: No, you need to know where the medals go in case something happens.
Hicks hoped with everything she had that she'd never have to apply the lesson.
Jason was her only child.
"I know there's got to be a special reason
why (God) took him from me and his babies," Hicks said. "But he was a Marine,
and he was very proud, and that was his job."
The global war on terror has tragically reached a home in Caldwell County.
A Marine from Lenoir, Staff Sergeant Jason Ramseyer, was killed by a roadside explosive device Thursday in Iraq. On Sunday friends gathered to talk about the athlete and father they now hail as an American hero.
“The last words I told him, I told him I loved him, and then this happened,” said Brandon Haney.
Haney is still in shock after losing a pal he cared for like a brother. Ramseyer’s death ends a tight bond formed on the baseball diamond 15 years ago.
The fallen Marine met many of his friends while playing baseball as a youngster.
“He was very spastic out on the field; he was always gung ho, ready to go, running as hard as he could,” Haney said.
Upon graduation from West Caldwell High School in 1996, Ramseyer carried his passion from the sports fields to the combat zones.
Another baseball buddy, Pastor Joe Greer, said Ramseyer was outgoing and popular, and he always talked about being a Marine.
“What he did is not in vain, and we’re thankful for his kind and his people,” Greer said.
Although both Haney and Greer share countless memories from many years of friendship, they said Ramseyer will be remembered most as a servant and proud protector of his nation.
“Certainly he left too early, but he left doing something that he certainly loved to do, which a lot of people don’t get to leave out of this world that way,” Greer said.
“He was very, very dedicated and if he had passed any other way, he wouldn’t have been happy,” Haney said. “He wanted to do what he was doing and he loved what he did.”
Ramseyer will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery this week. A separate memorial service is planned in Lenoir.
The Marine is survived by his wife, Mandy,
and their two daughters, ages 2 and 3.
30 April 2006:
Family and friends gathered to say goodbye to a fallen Marine from Lenoir on Saturday.
Staff Sergeant Jason Ramseyer, 28, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb on April 20, 2006. Those who attended his funeral remembered him as a friend, a father and a hero.
Cody Mikeal said he vividly remembers the last words he spoke to his longtime friend.
“I told him I was proud of him, and I told him I loved him, and I thanked him for what he does for me and my family and for the rest of America,” Mikeal said.
Hundreds came out to mourn Ramseyer, who was hailed as someone who rose to every challenge by those who served alongside him. They said he was a proven leader, hand-picked to serve as a platoon commander.
“He always treated (his platoon members) with dignity and respect. He wouldn’t put them into type of a situation where he wouldn’t go himself,” said Colonel Gregory Boyle. “He always led from the front.”
Ramseyer leaves behind his wife, Mandy, their two young daughters and a Caldwell County community devastated by his death, but honored by the life he led.
“You could see by the people that showed up today and the respect that they showed. I think he touched more lives than he knew,” Mikeal said. “He’ll be greatly missed by all of us.”
Ramseyer will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery. A memorial will also be unveiled in his honor at the Marine center where he trained.
10 May 2006
Dear Mr. Bush:
You do not know me, however I felt compelled to write to you and tell you about my son. You see, he was a 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment based in Hawaii, and he now lives in your neighborhood, Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60.
His name was Staff Sergeant Jason Carroll Ramseyer and he was 29 years old. He was killed on April 20, 2006 in the Al Anbar Province, Haditha, Iraq by an IED explosive device. He leaves behind a wife, Amanda and two little girls. Rylee Grace is 3 1/2 and Kadence just turned 2. He was my only child.
He joined the Marines in 1996 two weeks after graduating from high school. He served in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Jason was hand picked out of thousands of Marines for his skills and ability as a teacher, as well as a leader. He presently served as the platoon commander for the battalion's Forward Command Post, known as "Jump CP." He was in charge of security for Lt. Colonel Norman L. Cooling and was killed protecting Lt. Colonel Cooling, as well as his fellow Marines. His comrades called him a "Marines Marine."
We have not only lost an important person in our personal life, but our country has lost a valuable Marine. These men and women have willingly volunteered to serve our country. They are the leaders and some of our strongest and we are losing them EVERY day. There were 76 lives lost just in the month of April 2006.
I have received cards and letters from mothers who have lost their sons and daughters as well. One card was from a young man's mother who lost his life in Jason's unit during their Afghanistan deployment. It is time for our country's leaders to pay attention to the small details, the individual lives lost.
My son's new fascination was golf. We played when I visited him in Hawaii the end of February, prior to his deployment on March 11, 2006. In the last email I received from him he said that he had made a tee platform on the dam, found an old golf club, and would I send him some cheap golf balls so that he could practice and hit them off the dam into the water. He never got my response the following day. This Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day. I will be at Lookout Dam on the Catawba River hitting golf balls into the water in honor of my son who will never again send me a Mother's Day card telling me how much he loved me.
My son's wishes were to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery because of his love for his country and his pride at being a United States Marine.
My request is a simple one. Please pay him a personal visit at Arlington. He respected you, loved his family, his country, God and the Marines.
As a mother, I need to know that my son receives the respect, honor and dignity he deserves in giving his life for his country. The Marines have already shown me that, now I would like to receive that gift from you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA - Cindy Hicks has a message for President Bush: Remember the fallen soldiers for who they were, not just for their service to their country.
Hicks lost her only child, Marine Staff Sergeaqnt Jason Carroll Ramseyer, April 20, 2006, in Haditha, in western Iraq. He left behind his wife, Mandy, 28, and his daughters, Rylee Grace, 3, and Kadence, 2.
So Hicks, a paralegal from Claremont, wrote a letter to Bush asking him to visit her son at Arlington National Cemetery, where half of his cremated remains are buried. The other half are at Woodlawn Cemetery in Lenoir.
"It is time for our country's leaders to pay attention to the small details, the individual lives lost," Hicks wrote in her letter, dated May 10, 2006.
She doesn't know if Bush will even see the letter, let alone fulfill her request. The White House did not respond to requests for comment. But writing the letter made her feel better.
Ramseyer was serving his first tour of duty in Iraq as head of security for his battalion's commander when he was killed by a roadside bomb. He previously had served in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
"I know he died doing what he wanted to do," said Hicks, 48. "I just wanted him to know that I did everything I could to get him the respect he deserves."
Ramseyer had recently become fascinated with golf; she had played most of her life. She visited him in February at the Marine base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, just before he went to Iraq. It rained, but the base's golf course was dry enough to play nine holes.
And on Mother's Day this year, she paid a small a tribute to her son, lugging her clubs, and a box of golf balls she had planned to ship to him just before he was killed, to the Catawba River.
One by one, she plucked golf balls from the box and hit them into the river.
Members of the honor guard carry an American flag and the remains of cremated Marine Staff
Sergeant Jason Ramseyer who was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery., Monday, May 1, 2006.
Posted: 23 April 2006 Updated: 24 April 2006 Updated: 30 April 2006 Updated: 3 May 2006 Updated: 19 May 2006 Updated: 17 June 2006 Updated: 24 June 2006 Updated: 30 April 2010
2010 Rose Event Photos By M. R. Patterson
Photos Courtesy of Holly, June 2008
Photos Courtesy of Holly, June 2006