Saturday, March 29, 2008

Army Sgt. Jevon K. Jordan

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jevon K. Jordan, 32, of Norfolk, Va.

Sgt. Jordan was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died March 29, 2008 in Abu Jassim, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

The Virginian-Pilot -- A soldier from Norfolk who was injured in an explosion in Iraq last month has died, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.

The Department of Defense said Sgt. Jevon K. Jordan, 32, died Saturday at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Jordan was wounded March 23 in Abu Jassim, Iraq, when the vehicle he was in encountered an improvised explosive device, the Pentagon said.

Jordan was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart, Ga. -- OCALA - For Ocala resident Kathryn Crowell-Grate, worrying about loved ones in the military is nothing new.

Crowell-Grate grew up in a military family, and her husband, Nathaniel Grate, is retired from the Navy and serving as a civilian contractor on a Navy ship in the Persian Gulf.

But Crowell-Grate couldn't be prepared for the news she received Monday. Her son-in-law, Army Sgt. Javon Jordan, was critically wounded in Iraq.

"When we got the call, everybody thought they were lying," she recalled Thursday. "You watch the news, and think 'OK, it's not going to hit us close to home.' It's always somebody else."

According to Crowell-Grate, Jordan, 32, was wounded Sunday by a roadside bomb that exploded next to the vehicle in which he was riding. Three of his fellow soldiers were killed.

Jordan was flown to a military hospital in Germany with a severe head injury, and is expected to be flown to Bethesda Naval Medical Center today if he is stable enough, Crowell-Grate said. She's planning to fly to Washington, D.C., today to join her daughter Michelle, Jordan's wife, at his bedside.

But the outlook is grim.

"If he's stable enough, they're going to fly him back," she said. "They're not expecting him to make it."

Military spokespeople could not be reached Thursday to confirm Crowell-Grate's account. Paul Flusche, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns' office, confirmed Crowell-Grate had contacted the office for possible assistance with transportation to Washington.

Crowell-Grate, the administrator of the Contemporary Christian Academy/The Children's Hubb in Ocala, said she had known Jordan since he was a child in Norfolk, Va.

"This little boy was in third grade, and he said he's in love with my daughter," she said. "He practically lived at my house."

Javon and Michelle Jordan have been married for 13 years, and live in Virginia with their three children, Crowell-Grate said.

For Jordan, the Army was a ladder to success, she said.

"He loves his country, and the military was all he knew to be successful," she said. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, she said.

It's hard to comprehend the war injury that could take her son-in-law's life, Crowell-Grate said. But she's determined to be strong for her daughter and grandchildren.

"That (risk is) a part of his job, and I respect that, and that's a part of my husband's job, and I respect that, but when you're grieving, you can't see past that," she said. "I know because of my faith in God that He'll give me strength to be Grandma and everything that I need to be for them."

Army Sgt. Jevon K. Jordan died on 3/29/08 from combat injuries sustained 3/23/08.

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