Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Army Sgt. Jonathan J. Richardson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jonathan J. Richardson, 24, of Bald Knob, Ark.

Sgt. Richardson 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 Pfc. Jason M. Kropat.

For the second time this month, an Arkansas soldier has been killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense says Sgt. Jonathan J. Richardson, 24, of Bald Knob, died on Tuesday in Khowst province.

He had been injured in an attack by insurgents using small-arms, indirect and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Richardson died after being medevaced from the scene.

A soldier killed Tuesday in a bomb and gunfire attack on the U.S.-Afghan base in Khost was the grandson of Ken and Edna Martin of Mountain Home Arkansas — 24-year-old Sgt. Jonathan J. Richardson of Bald Knob.

The Martins were to travel to Springdale today to connect with relatives in preparation for funeral services probably next week.

Mrs. Martin said relatives telephoned with news of the death Tuesday soon after the attack. She said she was especially close to her grandson who lived with her for most of a year when he was a 3-year-old while the family was relocating to the U.S. from South Korea where his parents worked in civil service.

"We became very close and we remained close from then on," Mrs. Martin said.

Mr. Martin said except for the occasional "B" in subject matter that didn't interest him, his stepgrandson was an "A" student in high school. He also excelled at football.

"He was unsure of what he wanted to do when he graduated high school. He could have gone to college and done anything he wanted. But he talked to a recruiter and joined," Mrs. Martin said.

"He made sergeant in less than four years," Mr. Martin said.

Mrs. Martin said she and her grandson's wife, Rachel, have something in common in the sudden loss of a spouse. Her first husband, Jerry J. Cobb, was killed in an armed robbery of the couple's business in Springdale in 1974.

"I know what she's going through," Mrs. Martin said. "You know what's happened, but you just can't get your mind around it."

Mr. Martin called the sergeant's wife "Sweet Rachel."

"They loved each other so much. It was no puppy love. They were deeply, genuinely in love," he said.

The Martins visited the Richardsons last year just after they purchased their first home in Clarkville, Tenn. Sgt. Richardson was stationed at nearby Fort Campbell, Ky.

The fellow soldiers of Sgt. Jonathan Richardson will remember him as the “kind of leader soldiers strive to emulate.”

Richardson joined the Army in June 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in January 2007. His awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Non-commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Ribbon; and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.

Richardson was a fire support specialist who joined the Army in June 2006 and came to Fort Campbell in January 2007.

Along with a brother and sister, Richardson is survived by his wife, Rachel Richardson, of Clarksville, Tenn.; mother Sharon Dunigan, of Bridgeport, W.V.; and father, Jeffery Richardson, of Germany.

Army Sgt. Jonathan J. Richardson was killed in action on 3/9/10.

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