Jason R. Arnette – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
April 02, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The soldiers died from wounds suffered March 31, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.

Killed were:

Staff Sergeant Jason R. Arnette, 24, of Amelia, Virginia. He died April 1, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq.
Specialist Wilfred Flores Jr., 20, of Lawton, Oklahoma. He died March 31, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq.

Amelia man, 24, dies in Iraq
Jason R. Arnette was proud to serve his country, mom says

3 April 2007

Jason R. Arnette of Amelia County, Virginia, dreamed of being a G.I. Joe or a Green Beret much like the toys he and his friends played with at age 3.

Five years ago, he took a serious step to make those early childhood games a reality and joined the Army.

On Sunday, he died in Iraq from wounds inflicted by an improvised explosive device that went off near the vehicle he was riding in with his combat team.

His death occurred a year and one day after the death of his father, William Russell Jr., his family said.

“He not only gave his life for his country, he died doing what he wanted to do,” his mother, Michelle Arnette, said last night from her home in Amelia.

Jason Arnette, a 24-year-old staff sergeant, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, New York.

The Amelia County High School graduate had been deployed to Iraq three times, Michelle Arnette said. He was attending John Tyler Community College before he joined the Army and he had planned to continue his education, his mother said.

The last time he was home with his two sisters, his mother and his wife of three years, Shenandoah Sky Arnette, was in December.

Jason Arnette was not due for rest and rehabilitation until this spring, but he pulled some strings and surprised his wife, who is also from Amelia, who was graduating from Radford University, his mother said.

“He had a romantic Christmas surprise for her that any woman would love to have,” she said.

Her son lived a full life, Michelle Arnette said. He loved his two sisters. He made many friends around the world because of his likeable personality. He went on missionary trips to Guatemala when he was 13 and 16 years old.

Now that the family is going through a difficult time, those

friends are reaching out and giving support, Michelle Arnette said. She also has belonged to the support group Militaryfriend.net since her son enlisted.

“Some of these wonderful people are putting blue lights on their porches so he sees them like stars on his way home,” she said.

Family friend Pam Leedy said she saw Jason Arnette grow from a boy to a man and became a different person once he entered the Army. Leedy said her son wants to go into the military, and Arnette would talk to him about the different branches and opportunities.

“He was proud to serve his country,” she said. “He recommended to young boys doing that if that's what they wanted to do.”

Michelle Arnette recalled a son who liked excitement.

“He was what we called a goof-off,” she said.

He once persuaded one of her friends to sign for him for a bungee jumping stunt. He also loved soccer. “He lived soccer 24/7, 365 days a year,” she said.

At 18, he was going through a tough time and he called his mother one day at work saying that he would enlist in the military. She told him no. His recruiter told him to go home and to take a few days to think about it before signing anything. But he didn't change his mind.

“I supported him all the way,” Arnette said.

Even before the men in uniform stepped on her property Sunday, she knew something bad had happened.

“It's something only a mother would know,” she said.

She was told that her son had been wounded from an improvised explosive device and died at a hospital.

The family is expecting Arnette's body to arrive sometime this week. The family plans to have a private funeral in Amelia in addition to a military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

“I miss him,” she said. “I do not want to see him come home in that box. But he died doing what he loved.”

Sergeant Embraced Challenges, Did Charity Work in Guatemala

By Martin Weil
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Jason R. Arnette, who grew up southwest of Richmond, played soccer in high school and made many friends, was a man marked by a distinctive set of goals, attitudes and ambitions.

As a teenager, he went on church-sponsored trips to Guatemala to build an orphanage and a medical center. His wife said he wanted to adopt a son of another race. And, his mother said, he had wished since age 3 to be a soldier.

On Sunday, Staff Sergeant Jason R. Arnette, 24, of Amelia, Virginia, died of wounds suffered the previous day in Baghdad when a roadside bomb blew up near his vehicle, the Pentagon said last night.

“My son lived and died doing what he liked doing,” his mother, Michelle Arnette, said last night. “He loved the discipline and the structure.”

The bigger the challenge, his mother said, “the more he aspired to do it.” During his five years in the Army, she said, he served one tour in Korea and was sent three times to Iraq.

Her son, she said, was “a special young fellow” who was so friendly that “he never met a stranger.” At Amelia County High School, he had been in the ROTC and had played soccer, she said. Those who played with him remained among his closest friends, she said.

At 13 and again at 16, she said, Arnette and others from Amelia's Faith Christian Church traveled to Guatemala for the building projects.

In school, Arnette was a year ahead of Shenandoah Sky Hughes; they became close while he was in the Army and married in 2004.

“He was ready to start a life,” his wife said last night. “He wanted kids. He would have been a really great father.”

Arnette was adventurous, a lover of sports and the outdoors, and wanted to become a history teacher, his wife said.

She said he “accepted everybody” and believed he could “connect with anybody.”

One of Arnette's ambitions, she said, was to adopt an African American child because he felt it would send a message against racism.

He loved to tell stories, she said, and “he loved me very, very much.”

The last time she saw him, Hughes Arnette said, was in December. It was the month of her graduation from Radford College, and he paid a surprise visit home from Iraq.

His father-in-law, Roger Hughes, said that he learned from Arnette on that visit that the sergeant “really, really did not want to be” in Iraq, although “his wife doesn't want to say that.”

Arnette was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, New York.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 11/07/1982
  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/01/2007

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