Jae S Moon

Jae S Moon

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LEVITTOWN, PA, USA
U.S. Army
SSG, COMPANY B, 2D BATTALION, 12TH INFANTRY, FORT CARSON, CO
BAGHDAD, IRAQ 12/25/2006

Staff Sergeant Jae Sik Moon died at age 21, but seemed much older because so many of his fellow Soldiers looked up to him. “He was an outstanding soldier as well as an outstanding human,” said Sergeant John Villa, who worked with Staff Sergeant Moon early in Moon’s enlistment.  Sergeant Villa described Staff Sergeant Moon as a 19-year-old private who was rated as the best enlisted soldier in his battalion.  “He did everything perfectly, ” Villa said.

“He wasn’t better than people,” Sergeant Villa said. “He helped other people. If you told people he was only 21, they wouldn’t believe you.”  Rather than bragging to other Soldiers about his excellent abilities, Staff Sergeant Moon helped them study for promotion tests and worked hard to share his military knowledge.

When his brigade was assigned to duty in South Korea, the Korean immigrant was well known for showing off his homeland.   In 2005 his brigade moved from Korea to Fort Carson, Colorado.  Even there, Staff Sergeant Moon struck people with his towering maturity.

While he was deployed to Iraq for a second time in 2006, was severely wounded on December 14th when an improvised explosive device exploded near the vehicle in which he was riding. Two other soldiers were killed and a third lost his leg, according to a statement released by the Army.  When Staff Sergeant Moon called his family on Christmas Eve, he said he was OK and needed some food and an air mattress.  He also asked for some blankets.

But he did not tell his parents, Young and Ki Moon, that he had been wounded.  The next morning, Christmas Day 2006, he died from his injuries.
 
At the time of his death Staff Sergeant Moon was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado.

At a Memorial Service for Staff Sergeant Moon held at his alma mater, Neshaminy High School, on April 14, 2008, Middletown Township Supervisor Chris Thompson said:  “He was a hero in the way he cared for others, he was a hero for his devotion to his mother and his father and last, he is a hero for the sacrifice he made for our nation.”  Other speakers who lauded his accomplishments were Congressman Patrick Murphy and State Representative Chris King, as well as some of his former teachers and friends.

Jae’s portrait is also located on Poster 6

Responses

4 Responses to “Jae S Moon”
  1. Matthew Gotthardt says:

    I still miss you brother. I…I should have stayed at Fort Carson to watch your back. I remember getting a flash message on my FBCB2 from a good friend still with the original Curr Ahee. I was with 82nd at the time and operating north of where 2-12 was. The words, \I’m sorry Matt but Jae Moon died.\ are still with me. It sucks that such terrible things happen to great people and I’ll never forget the genuine love you felt when around him.

  2. Brad bullman says:

    Mooney you would be proud of me im a Sergeant of Marines now, I struggle with the memories of your homecoming and arrival everyday after i burried you, I cry like a little baby in a grown mans body! I hear Taps and I want to Cry, I hear revelry and it makes me think of you, Im surrounded by Marines but every Asian guy in uniform reminds me of you! You were one of my closest friends! I remember teaching you to drive stick shift in my dads Ford, and when we went swimming in my backyard we joked about how small your bathing suit was. I remember you everyday. I check in on your parents when I go home too but I had to stop because of a flood of overwhelming sadness! We all love and miss you! Try not to get to comfortable wherever you are now! I’ll know we will meet agian,

    Sincerely

  3. Summer E. Moore says:

    “Private Moore, you’re going out with Bravo Company at 0300 hours tomorrow morning.” These are the words my 1SG (First Sergeant) said to me around 1800. I felt my heart starting to race. I did not see myself in the mirror but if I did, I’m pretty sure I went pale as a ghost. HOLY. SHIT. These were the facts. The year is 2006. I am in a small camp outside of Southeastern Baghdad. Tomorrow morning, I will be leaving the safety of my camp to go in to the market with a bunch of guys I do not know. Needless to say, I did not sleep that night.
    When 0230 hit, I was a wreck. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in my entire life. Up until now, everything I had ever been afraid of seemed so obsolete. I walked over to Bravo Company. It was a sea of shadows running around in front of Humvee headlights with troops rallying to get their gear on the truck. And here I was. Pathetically asking Bravo Company soldiers if they knew where I was supposed to be. Of course, no one knew. Finally, a higher-ranking Sergeant grabs me and says, “You’re with me”. His name was Sergeant Jae Moon. He was an Asian guy. Tall and fit. You could tell he lived, eat and breathed Army Infantry. I knew immediately that this was the guy whose side I would not be leaving today. He knew it too. He could tell I was scared. I could see it his eyes. He was one of those that you know what they’re thinking without them saying anything. I appreciated him not ragging on me in front of the other guys in the truck. Picture me. PFC Moore. Been in the Army all of 8 months. First deployment and one of FOUR females in the entire battalion of 2-12 Infantry. Yeah, 4. 4 out of 800 men. There was no way in hell I was going to give any of these men a reason to say or think that I was not capable of being right alongside of them. But in reality, I was terrified. Hell, up until today the only combat training I had done was in Basic Training and that seemed like it was forever ago. My job was Logistics. I was good at it too. I had no I idea why I was being thrown to the wolves doing this shit. I didn’t sign up for this. Oh wait, yeah I did. Oops.
    After getting settled in to the Humvee and some small talk with the others that were in my truck, I learned why I was on this mission. Iraqi women were not keen on the idea of being searched by American men when we so kindly kicked in their doors during raids. The only men that had ever touched them were their fathers, brothers or husbands by arranged marriages. I don’t think I would be so fond of the idea either if I was 14 years old or some big dumb American kid was feeling all over me. So to do the respectable thing, they brought me in. My job was going to be to search the women and children of the neighborhood.
    Around 0400 hours, our convoy left the gates of our camp. It was pitch black out. I was begging to see something outside the gates but there was nothing. Just a sea of black for twenty minutes until we reached the edge of Baghdad. Our Gunner in our truck saw me yawning and squatted down to hand me a Red Bull and two capsules of Metabo-Life, which left a weird taste in my mouth all day. Especially mixed with the half a pack of cigarettes I had already smoked in a matter of 3 hours. After about 1 hour, I was wide-awake. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was so nervous or the pills but my hands were shaking.
    We arrived at our destination. It’s a neighborhood and the sun was just started to peek its head over the horizon. The locals were up and walking around. Many of them women walking with bags from a local food stand just around the corner. I will never forget the stares I got from them. I don’t believe they had ever seen a female soldier before. They just stared at me. So much that it made me uncomfortable. Kids were running up to me and saying, “Madame! Madame!” Their smiles were from ear to ear. They knew SGT Moon too. He reached in his cargo pocket and pulled out some candy for them. After you know it, we were being swarmed with kids. It was nice to be able to smile and laugh with children and I remember thinking to myself, next time bring a huge bag of candy. After feeling a small tug at my pants, I looked down to see a little boy who had a fly on his face. It was so strange because he never swatted it away. It crawled all over his face and he never blinked. I went to swat it away for him and the fly flew two feet and landed right back on his face. I remember at that time thinking, “This really is a third world country”.
    After a long day of doing what infantry guys called “block parties”, it was time to go home. I was so happy nothing bad had happened after listening to horror stories of my new fellow brothers all day. It was just a long day of going in and out of houses and drinking chai tea that women would give us. (Which was strong as hell by the way. Red Bull has got nothing on real chai tea.) But then, it happened. Shots were fired.
    Sergeant Moon looked at me right in my face and said “YOU STAY TWO STEPS BEHIND ME AT ALL TIMES GOT IT?! WE”RE GOING TO RUN TO THE HUMVEE!” I nodded because I didn’t know what else to do. 1….2……3. Next thing I knew, my team and I were sprinting down the street and I could feel bullets at my feet. The trucks seemed like they were miles away and the weight of all the equipment was weighing me down. I made it and SGT Moon threw me behind the vehicle. Our gunner sprayed down the street with return fire. It was the most intense moment of my life. It seemed like it lasted forever when it was 30 seconds. I peered around the corner just in time to see what looked like little ninjas fleeing from the tops of the houses. What. The. F***.
    The ride home I was silent. All the guys in my truck were laughing and high-fiving except SGT Moon. I think he knew that I had just been shot at for the first time in my life and was letting me have a moment to myself. Eventually, I snapped out of it and laughed it off. What else was I supposed to do when I’m surrounded by men who live for this life? When we got back, SGT Moon told me that I had done a great job out there and if I would like to become their team’s female searcher. I proudly accepted yes and after the course of 15 months in Iraq, I did over 20 of these missions with not only Bravo Company but others as well. I was awarded Soldier of the Month, Solider of the Quarter, and I was promoted to Sergeant by the time we were back in the States. He was a great teacher and I always felt protected when he was around and I remember HE ALWAYS checked on me to make sure I was ok. He took responsibility for my newbie female supply clerk self and it’s because of him that I was trained and educated outside the safety of our post for future missions to come. SGT Jae Moon died from an IED roadside bomb on December 25th, 2006. He was the first to die from our battalion. I remember my 1SG coming in and sitting me down to let me know of Moon’s death. I wish I could say that I was able to tough it out but there was no way I could hold in the tears that were pouring down. As I write this now 11 years later, the tears are forming again.
    To the parents and family of Jae Moon: Your son kept me safe and alive when I had no idea what I was doing in a combat zone in Iraq. He was someone that I looked up to and still do to this day. He was professional beyond words and he is a perfect example of what outstanding soldiers should inspire to be. I will be forever grateful to you and your family and of course Jae for the rest of my life. I have been out of the Army since 2009 and every Memorial Day, I say a prayer and think of SSG Moon. I hope this finds you some comfort on this Memorial Day and you can smile when you think of what a hero he really was. Thank you beyond words.
    RIP SSG JAE MOON.

    Best Regards,
    SGT Summer E. Moore
    F CO 2-12 IN

  4. alex says:

    I miss you Jae. It’s a privilege and honor to be your friend, your brother. I think about you often and what we’d be doing together if you were here.

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