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Jason K Chappell


U.S. Army


01/24/2004, KHALDIYAH, IRAQ

In the national news, he was one of three soldiers killed Jan. 24 at an Iraqi checkpoint outside Baghdad when a car bomb exploded. But to the folks in his hometown, Army Specialist Jason Chappell will always be the quiet kid who loved church, his family, and games like Monopoly and Clue.

As word of his death spread through this Riverside County city, teachers, friends and relatives remembered him as quiet and scholarly but also as a person who would throw himself completely into whatever he was doing.

“He was so determined in everything he did,” said Jennifer Mallon, who was on the school’s Academic Decathlon team with Chappell and appeared in the school theater group production of “The King and I” with him.

Rich Herold, who coached the Academic Decathlon team, agreed.

“He just drove us the whole year. He was so intense he would just drive us to do better and better,” Herold said. “It’s quite a blow. It’s the tragedy of war.”

Chappell, 22, maintained a 3.8 grade point average in high school and had an interest in computers. He joined the Army a year after graduating in 2000.

“Jason was always a quiet kid who loved church, family and country,” his aunt Susan Priest of Cathedral City said as she began to cry. “He joined the military to make himself a better person. He believed in what he was doing. We are all so proud of him.”

Chappell, who was married, was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

“I’m doing all right for what happened,” said his father, Mitch Farnsworth. “My wife, Gail, is taking it tough. I’m not making sense of it yet. It’s hard to believe.”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office said flags would be flown at half-staff over the Capitol in his honor.

“Jason lost his life while protecting the lives of all Americans,” Schwarzenegger said. “His memory will not be forgotten.”


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