Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Army Pfc. Jason M. Kropat

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Jason M. Kropat, 25, of White Lake, N.Y.

Pfc. Kropat was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died March 9, 2010 in Khowst province, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms, indirect and rocket-propelled grenade fires. Also killed was Sgt. Jonathan J. Richardson.

A soldier from Sullivan County died in Afghanistan on Tuesday after serving there for about two months, according to reports given to family members by Army officials.

Kropat's mother, Kathleen Kropat, was told in a telephone call to her home in Fredericksburg, Texas, shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday that her son was killed. His father, Glenn Kropat, was also notified. His parents are separated, but live in the same Texas town. Jason had just visited them at Christmas.

"He loved life," Kathleen Kropat said. "He loved his family. He loved his country."

"He was the all-American Boy Scout," said his girlfriend of four years, Shannon Kinne of White Lake. Kinne, 20, said one of his favorite pastimes was to gaze at the stars through a telescope.

Kinne and Kropat had talked extensively about his decision to join the Army. "He told people it was for me, so that we'd have a stable life," Kinne said. But later, Kinne said, Kropat told her he wanted to prove to himself that he could do it. "He was very homesick (in Afghanistan)," she said. Kropat joined the Army in October 2008 and deployed to Afghanistan on Jan. 3, friends say.

Kropat lived most of his life in Smallwood with his three sisters — Kristina, 28, Kimberly, 23, and Courtney, 19. He grew up in Sullivan County and attended Monticello High School.

He loved the outdoors, Kristina Kropat said. Her brother loved to fish and there is a picture of him in the Times Herald-Record from 2008, when he caught a 22-inch trout.

"He really believed in what he was fighting for," Kimberly Kropat said. "He will be missed. He will be sorely missed." Kimberly Kropat said she will be making the funeral arrangements. She plans to have the service in Bethel. And she said she's looking into starting a scholarship in her brother's name.

Kinne had sent Kropat a birthday package only days ago. She wanted it to arrive in Afghanistan before what would have been his 26th birthday — April 10.

First Lt. John Limauro, the company’s executive officer, said Kropat was “an excellent soldier in every capacity,” and was the first to cheer up his fellow soldiers. “Jason was always quick with a joke when everyone was down and the situation was undesirable,” Limauro said.

Limauro said Kropat, who came to Fort Campbell in March 2009, was also proactive in his efforts to spread the cheer. “Jason was the battle buddy that everyone wanted,” Limauro said. “His ability to see his comrades down without words would allow him to cheer anyone up no matter the time of day.”

His awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.

Army Pfc. Jason M. Kropat was killed in action on 3/9/10.

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