Jason T. Palmerton – Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 755-05

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

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

Sergreant Jason T. Palmerton, 25, of Auburn, Nebraska, died on July 23, 2005, in Qal'eh-Yegaz, Afghanistan, where he came under enemy small arms fire while conducting a dismounted patrol.  Palmerton was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

AUBURN, Nebraska – A fellow soldier remembered Sergeant Jason Palmerton as more than a friend. Army Specialist Geoffrey Moore said Palmerton was more like a brother.


Moore was among three people who spoke Sunday at a memorial service for Palmerton in Auburn.

Palmerton was a Green Beret Special Forces communication sergeant who was shot and killed July 23 while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Jason's father, Steve Palmerton, said the service was a healing experience for him. Steve Palmerton said he was touched by how much affection his son's comrades showed for him.

Another service with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery August 8, 2005.

Courtesy of the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star

Steve Palmerton awoke feeling a hole rent in his heart. It was Saturday morning, and soon he would be at the remembrance and memorial service for his son, Jason, a Green Beret Special Forces communication sergeant.

Jason was shot and killed July 23 while on patrol near Qal'eh-Ye Gaz in Afghanistan.

Somehow, Steve made it through the service. Afterward, men from Jason's division presented him with his son's green beret.

“I felt a very large hole suddenly feel a lot smaller,” Steve said.

Another service with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery August 8, 2005.

Two members of Jason Palmerton's division spoke at Saturday's service, as well as U.S. Army Specialist Geoffrey Moore, who had known Jason since both began military careers three years ago.

All said Jason had been more than a friend; he was a brother.

“You'd talk to him for 10 minutes and you knew you were going to be his friend,” Moore said.

And no matter how tough work might be, Jason could always make his fellow soldiers laugh.

“You'd always look over and see Jason smiling, loving what he was doing,” Moore said.

When Jason's sister, Amanda Palmerton, came to the pulpit, she said she loved hearing the soldiers call Jason their brother.

“Because too many biological siblings don't get along,” she said. “You always hear that.”

Jason and Amanda had experienced their own moments growing up.

“Jason knocked out my two front teeth when we were kids, and I gave him more wedgies than I can count,” Amanda said.

Jason bore a scar on his chin from when Amanda convinced him to sit on her bicycle handlebars as she rode downhill.

Still, the pair exited childhood with a great relationship.

“I was lucky to have him not just as a brother but as a friend,” Amanda said.

TAPS played twice from the back of the church when the service ended. People throughout the congregation could be heard crying.

Later, friends and family gathered in the church basement, sharing memories of Jason over lunch.

Marvel Fisher, the fiance of Jason's aunt, Diana Ebirim, had met him only once, over beers, just before he left for training in Fort Bragg, N.C. It was a good time —just drinking beers, laughing and joking.

Diana remembers it differently.

She hadn't seen Jason for a year, and now he was almost done with training. Something about him—his presence—had evolved.

“I was sitting there going, ‘My nephew's a man now,'” Diana said. “‘He's grown into a man.'”

U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Kurt Dock, who recruited Jason, talked to Jason's father, Steve, during the luncheon.

“He's made an impression on me in two months like some people I've known 15 years haven't done,” he told Steve. “He's about as successful as you can get.”

Jason is Kurt's only enlistee who has been killed.

“It's kind of hard to swallow,” he said.

Steve said he was in awe during the service when he heard Jason's fellow soldiers speak about him.

“Although I knew my son was in the berets and was part of the Army, I never knew they had so much love for each other and respect,” he said. “I'm grateful my son had boys like that for his friends and comrades.”

He said his heart and prayers and thoughts go out to all the other fathers who had ever done this —said goodbye to their sons like he had to say goodbye to Jason.

“He has made me the proudest man, at least for today,” Steve said. “And probably forever.”

My name is Kandi Rohrs and I'm the sponsor for the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.

Thanks so much for sending the picture of the wreath we placed on Sergeant Palmerton's grave on Wednesday, May 28th.  I didn't take my camera to Arlington that day, so your picture is appreciated.

For the past 6 years I have sponsored a Washington D.C. trip for 8th graders and their parents.  For the last 3 years, we have left a wreath at Sergeant Palmerton's grave.  Jason was a former student of mine in 7th and 8th grade.  When I had him as a student in middle school, never in a million years would I have thought that he would grow up to be a Green Beret.  Yet, as I stand at his grave every year, he was everything a Green Beret should be.  Jason was honest, trustworthy, kind,  responsible, respectful, and above everything else, a genuinely good person who cared about others.

I take my students to Sergeant Palmerton's grave to honor him and what he did for our country.  I feel it is important that my students understand the ultimate price that is paid for our freedoms. Visiting Sgt. Palmerton's grave makes Arlington very real for my students.  Placing a wreath on Sergeant Palmerton's grave is something my group will do every year during our D.C. tour.  I feel it is important for my students to do this, not only for them, but for our community.

Thanks Holly!  Feel free to use any of this email with your picture on the Arlington website.


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