CLACKAMAS, OR, USA U.S. Army CPT, HHC, 5TH BATTALION, 20TH INFANTRY, FORT LEWIS, WA SEATTLE 09/07/2007
One of Drew N. Jensen’s last actions in life was to look out for other wounded soldiers at the VA Hospital in Seattle. Before his death, he designated that a $10,000 fund established in his name should go to help offset the housing costs of other families who travel far to be near their wounded loved one’s bedside.
As an Army captain his first thought was to take care of his men, said George Kraus, a retired Marine who helps administer the Aid to Wounded Soldier Program.
Drew lived life without regret, his family wrote. He inspired those around him by embodying the leadership qualities he believed in and had an undeniable charisma that was only enhanced by his bright white smile.
Drew Jensen grew up in Western Oregon, the youngest of three sons born to Mardie Jensen, a school secretary, and Lance Jensen, now a retired teacher. As a boy, Drew Jensen loved to hike, ski and play soccer, and he was drawn to history by an eighth-grade social studies teacher who made models of Civil War battlefields.
Jensen graduated in 2002 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a history degree, near the top of his class, according to his parents.
As a young man, Jensen cared deeply about family, friends and the men who served under him. During his second tour of duty in Iraq, Jensen was a mortar platoon leader. As he tried to help one of his soldiers, pinned behind a vehicle after an explosion, he was shot by a sniper, leaving him a quadriplegic.
Even before he left on a first tour of Iraq back in 2003, CPT Jensen thought about what should happen if the war left him gravely injured. He did not want his life to be prolonged by artificial means such as ventilators, and stated that in Army medical papers, according to his mother, Mardie Jensen.” For him, he felt it was the right decision.” “It was something he was very aware of and talked with his buddies about a lot.”
“Drew had great faith, and I know that he is in heaven,” said Mardie Jensen. “The second thing that gives me comfort is he knew how much he was loved.”
Mardie Jensen and her husband, Lance cherish the four months they were able to spend with their son after his injury, and want their son to be remembered for the way he lived – not how he died.
“There was something about Drew that touched people,” Mardie Jensen said. “He was a good and talented person… a wonderful young man who was gone too soon.”
In Iraq, Jensen was always ready to stand up for his soldiers, according to Mardi Jensen. In letters home, he wrote of his concern and respect for his soldiers, and how inspired he was by their service. He was troubled by the death of one of his soldiers last September, and by the wounds sustained by others.
“He was one of the best of the best, I think,” said Lance Jensen of his son. “I don’t think the Army can afford to lose very many more of them.”