HERNDON, VA, USA U.S. Army SSG, COMPANY A, 2D BATTALION, 7TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, FORT BRAGG, NC KUZKALAKHEL, AFGHANISTAN 08/12/2007
In e-mails that spanned half the globe between Afghanistan and Roanoke, Jesse G. Clowers Jr. had been talking a lot recently about coming home. A staff sergeant with the U.S. Army Special Forces, Clowers was sent overseas in March, when his wife, Kaytie, was seven months pregnant with their second child.
His homecoming in late September would be Clowers’ first chance to meet his newborn daughter, Danielle.
“He was definitely counting down the days,” said his sister Nikki Clowers. “Almost every e-mail he sent us, he was talking about how much he was looking forward to hugging his wife and playing with his son and meeting his baby girl.”
“I really think that helped him keep going.”
On Sunday, two days after Clowers sent his last e-mail, word came that he had been killed while on patrol. According to the Department of Defense, an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Nangarhar province, killing Clowers and two other soldiers. He was 27.
A devoted and loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend, Jesse will always be remembered for his huge heart, big smile, outgoing personality, and most importantly, his overflowing love for his family.
And now, friends and family members who had been looking forward to a happy reunion are instead commemorating Clowers’ all-American life: country boy, Cave Spring High School football player, Eagle Scout, Virginia Tech cheerleader, Green Beret and — most importantly to Clowers — family man.
Standing 6 feet, 3 inches and weighing more than 230 pounds, Clowers could bench-press 400 pounds as easily as he could express his innermost feelings in public.
One family friend was struck by how Clowers, even as a teenager, would tell his parents and two sisters that he loved them, even as his high school buddies looked on.
“He was a gentle giant,” said Jeremy Sartain of Nashville, Tenn., who was friends with Clowers at Cave Spring and Tech and stayed close to him over the years.
“But as big as he was, his heart was bigger.”