SEATTLE, WA, USA U.S. Army CPL, COMPANY C, 2D BATTALION, 503D INFANTRY, CAMP EDERLE, ITALY FOB FENTY, AFGHANISTAN 07/13/2008
While serving overseas with the Washington National Guard and active-duty Army, Corporal Jason Bogar, of Seattle, displayed a passion for both military service and photography.
Bogar served first in Iraq, then volunteered for two tours in Afghanistan. In both countries he often trained his camera on fellow soldiers as well as children. Bogar died July 13 during a fierce battle that also claimed the lives of eight other soldiers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. He was 25.
Hundreds of people attended Bogar’s memorial service Friday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. There, his father, Michael Bogar, remembered Jason as a tenderhearted man who had “no use for self-indulgence,” and saw his last military deployment in Afghanistan as a way help children there.
Those attending the service included Washington National Guard soldiers who served with Bogar in Iraq in 2004, and who are now at a Yakima training ground as they prepare for a return trip to Iraq this fall with the 161st Battalion of the 81st Combat Brigade Team.
Also present was Sergeant Brian Hissong, a team leader with the Airborne Brigade unit that fought in Wanat. Hissong recalled teasing Bogar for his tendency to pick up his camera even as a firefight was under way. Hissong said would never forget his friend and comrade.
During the service, Bogar was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, given for heroism in combat, and other medals, including the Purple Heart.
After the service, mourners gathered for a reception, where, on a big screen at the front of the hall, Bogar’s family played a video montage of his photography.
The first series of slides included a tribute Bogar photographed and edited to honor another fallen soldier. His family used that sequence to honor Bogar’s sacrifice.
Others slides offered glimpses of Bogar’s life in Iraq and Afghanistan and of the children he met along the way.
Excerpt of Jason Bogar’s last letter to his family:
“I’ve always used the analogy if your told the color blue is green your whole life and someone tells you it’s actually blue they can give you all the facts in the world to prove it’s blue but at the end of the day it’s still green to you. The enemy we’re faced with is most of the time beyond words and it comes down to a sad but inevitable conclusion. We have to have young men that are willing to die to act on them and kill them before they can carry out any plans they have to kill innocent people because that is what they believe Allah wants, from distorted teachings of the Koran.
Know that you all are the reason I am here and to give my life for that is nothing to me. My love for every-one of you is what drives me and brings me comfort under stressful situations.
Carise let your child know of me and that even though I was never able to see he/she grow I love them more than they could imagine. “