Amelia, Virgina, U.S.
SSG, COMPANY C, 2D BATTALION, 14TH INFANTRY, FORT DRUM, NY
Baghdad, Iraq, 04/01/2007
Staff Sergeant Jason Arnette was born on November 7, 1982 in Richmond, Virginia. He grew up like most asthmatic kids: long, last-minute drives to the hospital at regular intervals throughout childhood. His mom, Michelle, would frequently have to go and get him at school and drive over 50 miles to the doctor’s office. It seemed there was no way to avoid it. Jason’s father, Bill, had died in 2006 from complications of lung disease – one year to the day of Jason’s own death.
Since he was old enough to walk, Jason had wanted to be a Soldier. His dream was to become a Green Beret – Special Forces. So he joined the JROTC program during his freshman year of high school in an effort to work toward his dream, but school did not come easy to him. Had it not been for his good friend, Crystal Lester he may never have gotten anywhere.
Just before he enlisted in the Army Jason called his mom. She asked what MOS he had chosen and he said he’d tell her when he gets home. Michelle wasn’t having it and insisted he tell her. “Are you sitting down?” he asked his mother. “No, but your dad is,” she replied. Jason’s dad always got a bit more excited than she did.
It was a mother’s worst nightmare. Jason was had signed on to go Airborne. His first duty station would be Korea. On March 25, 2002, Jason was on his way to Fort Benning, GA to begin his journey to becoming an airborne Infantry Soldier.
Ever since he was little, Jason could accomplish anything he set his mind to. “I always swore that you could put him in an airplane without a parachute,” his mom recalled, “push him out and he would fly!” He was on his feet the first time he put on water skis. He was four years old. The same day he was introduced to snow skiing, he was on the advanced hill before his mom could do anything to stop him. In the two hours that it took his mom and sister to get down the hill the first time, Jason was on his umpteenth trip up the lift. He had a way of seeing a challenge and running with it. He just made it work!
On Friday, September 13, 2004, Jason married his high school sweetheart, Skye. His dad had tried to talk him out of this and her dad was doing the same on that end. Love overruled them both and they were married near Fort Drum, NY by the Justice of the Peace. They set a July date in which they were going to have a much bigger ceremony for friends and family. A few months later, in January 2005, Jason got deployed again with the 10th Mountain Division. He was assigned to Charlie Company, 2-14th Infantry Battalion for a six month deployment to Iraq.
Jason and a few members of his squad all reenlisted together. Jason stood taller than anyone in the group and was proud to be an American Soldier. He wasn’t a 4-star General yet, but he was quickly becoming the “best of the best.’ With the reenlistment bonus, Jason treated Skye to a romantic honeymoon in Jamaica.
On April 1, 2007, Staff Sergeant Jason Arnette was killed in an IED blast – exactly one year to the day his father died. Jason’s ashes were mixed with his father’s and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, exactly where he wanted to spend eternity. Jason left behind myself, his wife Sky, two sisters Shelby and Tonya, a nephew Jacob and a niece Chloe.
“It’s funny how things roll in your direction when you think everything is all good in the hood. Life can switch momentum on you in a flash but don’t let it get you down as long as you can do something about it.” – Jason Arnette in an email to his sister.