Monday, June 07, 2010

Army Spc. Charles S. Jirtle

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Charles S. Jirtle, 29, of Lawton, Okla.

Spc. Jirtle was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 7, 2010 in Konar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed in the attack were Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala, Spc. Matthew R. Catlett, and Spc. Blaine E. Redding.

Spc. Charles Scott Jirtle's legacy became abundantly clear during his Wednesday funeral, when the wife and parents of the fallen soldier received folded U.S. flags from Brig Gen. Ross E. Ridge, commandant of Fort Sill's School of Artillery.

Ridge then reached for three more flags, drawing gasps from some in the church.
Ridge knelt by Jirtle's three children, handed each a flag, then stood and saluted each child.

The soldier, whom friends and loved ones knew simply as "Scott,” had graduated to the realm of "an American hero” for his service to his country, pastor Trey Smart said.

Jirtle, 29, died with four U.S. Army comrades June 7 in the Kunar Province in Afghanistan when their mortar patrol struck a buried roadside bomb.

Moments earlier, onlookers fought back tears as a four-song slide show played on giant overhead screens. Images of Jirtle's childhood, teenage years and military career appeared in full color, evoking memories of a sly smile and Christmases long ago.

The photos told an American story of a child with a jutting jaw and a playful spirit who became a man and then a soldier. One image — of Jirtle kissing the belly of his pregnant wife before his May deployment — brought sobs from mourners at First Baptist East.

Smart said Jirtle's unborn son will soon bear a proud name — Charles Scott Jirtle Jr.

"Our son Charles Scott Jirtle joined the Army because he wanted to take care of his children,” Jirtle's parents, Virginia and Terry Jirtle, said in a statement released this week. "He extended his enlistment for this deployment, knowing that he was going to a very hot spot.”

Jirtle, who served a tour in Iraq in 2007-2008, had been in Afghanistan three weeks. His final posting on Facebook read: "Savannah is having a real problem with this deployment, and I pray to God that He will watch over her and my children.”

Laughter also played a role in Wednesday's service. Smart told of how Jirtle's four older brothers would recruit him when they heard the ice cream truck coming down the street.

"They always knew if they sent Scott to ask Terry and Virginia for money, they wouldn't turn him down because he was the youngest,” Smart said.

Smart told how Terry and Virginia Jirtle often reserved Friday nights for bowling. Their five boys would then turn their house into a makeshift arena for "Friday night wrestling matches.”

"Being the youngest,” Smart added, "I would assume Scott didn't fare very well.”

All five soldiers were assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Jirtle, a Lawton native, was an indirect fire infantryman who joined the Army in July 2007 and arrived at Fort Campbell, Ky., in November 2007.

Army Spc. Charles S. Jirtle was killed in action on 6/7/10.

No comments: