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James S 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.

“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 was 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.”


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