Thursday, October 06, 2005

Army Spc. Jeremiah W. Robinson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Jeremiah W. Robinson, 20, of Mesa, Ariz.

Spc Robinson was assigned to the 860th Military Police Company, Arizona Army National Guard, Phoenix; died Oct. 6, 2005 in Baghdad of injuries sustained Oct. 5 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during convoy operations in Baghdad.

Jeremiah Robinson - American Patriot
Family of Mesa soldier refuses to 'wallow in self-pity'
Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic

Chandler police Sgt. Burt Robinson served in Iraq and returned home unharmed. His son, Jeremiah, 20, wasn't as fortunate.

But Jeremiah, a graduate of Mesa's Skyline High School, died living his dream, following his father's footsteps into the military. Eventually, he wanted to become a police officer.

"Jeremiah, his mission in life was to be a soldier, to be a copper," Burt Robinson, 43, said Tuesday. "It was his privilege to serve in that war. Unfortunately, we have to pay the ultimate sacrifice. There's no reason for it. It just is."

Burt Robinson, a Chandler officer for 21 years, was on active duty, awaiting deployment on a prisoner interrogation mission when informed of his son's death last Thursday.

He had just returned home after a training session at Fort Huachuca.

Robinson, of Mesa, won't be going back to Iraq. The risks are too high for his wife, Amy, and his tight-knit family, his source of strength and support. He also won't give Iraqi insurgents the satisfaction of mortally wounding his family.

"You can't wallow in self-pity. I refuse to let my family go into despair," Robinson said. "They killed my son, but they're not going to kill our spirit."

Jeremiah Robinson was killed last Thursday in Baghdad. He was driving a Humvee when an explosive device was detonated during convey operations. He was a member of the Army National Guard's 860th Military Police Company, based in Phoenix.

Ten days before Jeremiah's death, he completed a two-week leave in the Valley.

"That was the toughest thing we had to do, to put him back on the plane," Burt Robinson said.

During the week of Jeremiah's death, his unit came under enemy fire daily, his father said. A couple of months earlier, a sniper's bullet passed within inches of his face.

Sgt. Kevin Carpenter, Jeremiah's supervisor in Iraq, traded leave with another soldier so he could come to the Robinsons' home to describe the young man's death.

Carpenter also is escorting Jeremiah's remains from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to Arizona.

Jeremiah was the 61st soldier with Arizona ties to die in Iraq and Afghanistan. His services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Word of Grace Church, 655 E. University Drive, Mesa.

Lucas Robinson, 16, the couple's youngest son, played football for Desert Ridge High School the same day he learned of Jeremiah's death. His brother Jake, 17, played quarterback a day later for Skyline High School.

"You can't quit living," Burt Robinson said as he watched Lucas return a kickoff Tuesday night in a junior varsity game against Chandler High School. "The dead are going to stay dead. It takes more courage to get on with life than crawl into a hole."

Ken Ehle, Jeremiah's grandfather, said his grandson decorated his room with pictures of planes and military helmets, not cars like other boys.

"I was proud of him. That's exactly where he needed to be," said Amy, a Starbucks assistant manager. "He wasn't the partying type of kid. He knew what the real world was about. He didn't want to waste any time."

She said Jeremiah preferred the company of adults his father's age rather than his peers. He loved the camaraderie of hunting with his father and doing construction work with his uncle, Steve Ehle.

By the time he graduated from Skyline in 2003, Jeremiah was a journeyman roofer and framer. He had plans to marry his girlfriend, Rachelle Figueroa, 19.

"People are saying he put in 40 years of living in a 20-year span," Amy said.

Figueroa said she met Jeremiah in a communications class at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The two dated for 13 months. She said Jeremiah wouldn't have been satisfied with a safer assignment.

"He made sure the 860th was going to war. He wanted the action," she said.

Figueroa said she would never forget Jeremiah.

"He was the best thing that ever happened to me," she said. "He made me want to be a better person. He made you want to be like him."

In May, Jeremiah Robinson wrote a letter to Amy for Mother's Day from his post in Iraq. She had it laminated after learning of his death.

"I'm sure you probably don't like the fact that your husband and your son are going to be over here," Jeremiah wrote, thanking his mother for her support.

"This is something we had to do for ourselves and our duty to our country. That's what patriots do."

Army Spc. Jeremiah W. Robinson was killed in action on 10/6/05.

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