FORT RILEY, Kan. – Before a congregation of soldiers, family members and friends stood a black, two-tiered platform. On that platform was a picture of a Soldier, a pair of combat boots and a rifle with a helmet balanced on its buttstock and a set of dog tags dangling from its grip. The name imprinted on the first line of the dog tags also was the one displayed on the Soldier’s uniform – JARBOE.
Soldiers, family members and friends honored the life of Staff Sgt. Jamie Jarboe, a scout with the 4th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, during a memorial service April 5 at the Morris Hill Chapel.
Jarboe, 27, died March 12 after succumbing to injuries he received while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
A native of Frankfort, Ind., Jarboe served as a team leader with the “Pale Riders” during the unit’s recent yearlong deployment to the Zharay District near Kandahar, Afghanistan. While on patrol with his Soldiers, he was struck in the neck by a sniper’s bullet.
Severely wounded, he was evacuated to Germany and later to several medical facilities in the U.S., where he underwent more than 100 surgeries. He was left paralyzed from the chest down, but in early March was able to return to his wife’s adopted hometown of Topeka to be with his Family.
“By the grace of God, we were given 11 more months to live life (together),” Melissa Jarboe posted on the Family’s Facebook page “Prayers for Sgt. Jamie Jarboe,” which gathered more than 12,000 followers during the past year.
"Jarboe married his wife, Melissa, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan. She supported him through the many moves between medical facilities, ensuring he received the best care possible at all times," said Lt. Col. Michael Katona, commander, 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt.
The support of the communities, in both Topeka and Indiana, has been outstanding, Katona said. When Jarboe arrived in Topeka, he was greeted with an honor guard and a hero’s welcome, and at his funeral, hundreds of people with American flags lined the procession and showed support.
“For the past year, since he was shot last April, he and his wife, Melissa, fought the good fight,” said Col. Michael Pappal, commander, 1st HBCT. “Staff Sgt. Jarboe ultimately passed under his terms, with his loved ones present in Topeka. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Family and his comrades in the Pale Riders.”
One of Jarboe’s fellow Pale Riders shared his memories of his sergeant during the memorial service.
“I recall sitting next to Jamie, thanking him for bringing myself and the rest of Apache home safely back to our Families the day before he passed away … it’s almost as if he was hanging on long enough to hear his brothers had made it back safely,” said Spc. Nathaniel Felix.
Jarboe joined the Indiana National Guard in 2005 and attended basic and advance individual training at Fort Sill, Okla. His military assignments included Battery B, 1st Battalion, 320 Field Artillery, Fort Campbell, Ky., and as a team leader for Troop A, 4th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., 1st HBCT. He served two tours in Iraq, prior to his deployment to Afghanistan.
Jarboe’s awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart; Army Commendation Medal – 3d award; Army Achievement Medal; Good Conduct Medal – 2d award; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal – 1CS; Iraq Campaign Medal – 3CS; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal – M Device; NCO Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon – Num 4; NATO Medal; Combat Action Badge; Air Assault Badge; and the Expert Marksmanship Badge – Rifle.
Jarboe is survived by his wife, Melissa; his children, Celesteal Clark, Alexa Wallace and Aaron Jarboe; his father, Andrew Jarboe; and his mother, Joy Shoemaker.