SAN JACINTO, CA, USA
PFC, 170TH MP COMPANY, 504TH MP BATTALION, 42D MP BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS, WA
AL ASAD, IRAQ 05/06/2008
Army Private First Class (PFC) Aaron J. Ward of San Jacinto, California, died at age 19 on May 6, 2008, in Al Anbar, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came under small arms fire while conducting cordon and search operations. He served with the Military Police and deployed to Iraq in February 2008.
Aaron was born on April 28, 1989 in Portland, Oregon, to Paul and Debra Ward. He attended two high schools in San Jacinto, California: San Jacinto High School and Mountain View High School.
When Aaron enlisted in the Army in April 2007, he joined ranks with several family members who served in the military. At least four generations served in the armed forces during three different wars, including his sister Samantha (Navy), two uncles (Navy; Gulf War), his grandfather (Army; Vietnam), and his great-grandfather (Army; World War II).
Aaron planned to ask his girlfriend, Kati Jakubac, to marry him. After his deployment to Iraq, the pair stayed in touch via text message and phone calls.
Aaron was remembered by his fellow Service members at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, where the Army held a memorial service on May 16, 2008. Aaron was given military honors during the memorial service: a last roll call, a 21-gun salute, and a bugle rendition of taps. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the service members filed by a memorial to Ward, which consisted of a rifle with a bayonet, a pair of boots, a helmet with Ward stenciled on the headband, and a set of dog tags with Ward’s name. As the service members filed by, some saluted, some kneeled and held the dog tags, and some touched the helmet. His military police comrades remember him as someone who was positive, energetic, full of life, and made them smile.
Aaron was buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.