James Scott Ochsner – Sergeant First Class, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1193-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sergeant First Class James S. Ochsner, 36, of Waukegan, Illinois, died in Orgun-E, Afghanistan, on November 15, 2005, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during a supply distribution mission.  Ochsner was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Waukegan Green Beret dies
Roadside bomb in Afghanistan claims Sergeant James Ochsner

Sergeant First Class James Scott Ochsner, a native of Waukegan, Illinois, was scheduled to arrive home next week from his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan.

But the 18-year Army veteran was killed Tuesday in a roadside bomb attack.

Ochsner, 36, who served with the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, died of massive head injuries after the improvised explosive device exploded near his armored Humvee, which had been traveling as part of a troop patrol in support of a supply distribution mission in Orgun-E in Paktika province near the Pakistani border, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

“He was going out to distribute some goods to the local people,” said Ochsner's father, Bob Ochsner of Beach Park.

Ochsner and his wife, Sandy, were notified of their son's death late Tuesday afternoon.

“He loved the Afghan people, he really enjoyed them,” Ochsner said of his son.

James Ochsner, who leaves behind a wife and two children in Hope Mills, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, believed it was his duty to serve in the armed forces, Bob Ochsner said.

Military service is an Ochsner family tradition.

Bob Ochsner served in Army Special Forces in Vietnam, earning the rank of captain. Sandy Ochsner, who owns and operates the Jack & Jill Nursery School at 16 S. St. James Place in Waukegan is also an Army veteran.

A surviving son, Robert L. Ochsner II, 38, is a 20-year Army veteran currently stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His wife is also in the Army and when the couple were sent to Iraq, the elder Ochsners parented their two grandchildren until their son and daughter-in-law returned two years and two months later.

James Ochsner attended Clark Elementary and Andrew Cook Magnet schools in Waukegan before enrolling at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha. He was athletic, excelling in wrestling and football.

“He was devil may care, ‘the jokester,' a great kid,” Bob Ochsner said. “Both my sons were gifted children. Jim had a gifted IQ, but he had a hard time getting Cs and Bs in school. But in Special Forces in language school, he was first in his class in Arabic.”

He was first deployed to the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Members of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, originally were sent to train several battalions of the New Afghan National Army at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul in May 2002.

An intelligence specialist, James Ochsner, served revolving six-month stints in the region. His most recent tour began last June. He was scheduled to return early next week to become an instructor at the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg.

Bob Ochsner said his son was struck by the simplicity of the Afghan people.

“The best thing you could do for them was dig a well,” Ochsner said. “We helped them build schools but there was resistance to that. The elder men said they hadn't gone to school.”

The Ochsners are members of Our Lady of Humility Catholic Church in Beach Park, where Bob Ochsner serves as a deacon. Their daughter Jennifer works at Classic Chevrolet in Waukegan.

James Ochsner is one of 203 soldiers who have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in and around Afghanistan as of Nov. 16, with approximately 87 of those deaths occurring this year.

He is the 10th serviceman with ties to Lake County to be killed in Mideast war zones since 2003. American forces casualties for the War in Iraq now total 2,075.


Sergeant First Class James Scott Ochsner, a native of Waukegan, was scheduled to arrive home next week from his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan. But the 18-year veteran of the U.S. Army was killed Tuesday in a roadside bomb attack.

Sergeant Ochsner, 36, who served with the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, died of head injuries after a bomb exploded near his armored vehicle, which had been traveling as part of a troop patrol in Paktika province near the Pakistani border.

“He was going out to distribute some goods to the local people,” said Ochsner's father, Bob Ochsner of Beach Park.

The elder Ochsner and his wife, Sandy, were notified of their son's death late Tuesday afternoon.

“He loved the Afghan people; he really enjoyed them,” Bob Ochsner said of his son.

Sergeant Ochsner believed it was his duty to serve in the armed forces, Bob Ochsner said.

Military service is an Ochsner family tradition.

Bob Ochsner served in Army Special Forces in the Vietnam War, earning the rank of captain. Sandy Ochsner is also an Army veteran. A surviving son, Robert L. Ochsner II, 38, is a 20-year Army veteran currently stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Sergeant Ochsner's wife is also in the Army, and when the couple were sent to Iraq, the elder Ochsners parented their two grandchildren until their son and daughter-in-law returned two years and two months later.

“He was a soldier through and through,” said his wife, Ann. “There was never any doubt in his mind he would be a soldier.”

Ann Ochsner said she last heard from her husband Monday via e-mail. “It was the typical stuff — what you've done, the kids,” she said.

James S. Ochsner attended Clark Elementary and Andrew Cook Magnet schools in Waukegan before enrolling at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha. He was athletic, excelling in wrestling and football.

“He was devil-may-care, ‘the jokester,' a great kid,” Bob Ochsner said. “Both my sons were gifted children. Jim had a gifted IQ, but he had a hard time getting C's and B's in school. But in Special Forces in language school, he was first in his class in Arabic.”

Sgt. Ochsner was first deployed to the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 as an Army specialist.

Members of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, were first sent to train several battalions of the New Afghan National Army at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul in May 2002.

An intelligence specialist, Sergeant Ochsner served revolving six-month stints in the region.

His most recent tour began last June. He was scheduled to return early next week to become an instructor at the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg.

Bob Ochsner said his son was struck by the simplicity of the Afghan people.

“The best thing you could do for them was dig a well,” Ochsner said. “We helped them build schools but there was resistance to that. The elder men said they hadn't gone to school.”

In addition to his parents, Sergeant Ochsner is survived by his wife and two children, Nick, 16, and Megan, 14, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina; his brother Robert; and his sister, Jennifer.

Ochsner, who left in June and was expected to come home in January, had two Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Commendation Medal for valor. He was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg. He is one of 203 soldiers who have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in and around Afghanistan as of November 16, 2005, with about 87 of those deaths occurring this year.

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