John A Pelham
February 12, 2014
Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Bragg, North Carolina
Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, when they were struck by enemy small arms
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|From KOIN TV 6 koin.com
BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — John Pelham, who graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, his family told KOIN 6 News.
The 22-year-old was a classified intelligence officer.The military did not immediately confirm the death or its circumstances.
“On Tuesday I talked to my son,” Wendall Pelham told KOIN 6 News. “On Wednesday, he’s dead. And sometime in the next seven to 10 days I’ll bury him.”
He and his wife were notified at their Beaverton home by two US Army officers.
“The information we have from the military is that they were out on a mission outside their normal operating area and they came under attack and he was killed by a gunshot,” Pelham said.
John Alexander Pelham was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan and was expected to return in May or June. He played baseball and football at Sunset, graduated in 2010 and felt compelled to join the Army.
“As a father you are proud, I’m grateful my son had the integrity, desire to serve his country. … My son was a warrior and he knew part of his calling in life was to defend the freedoms of our country,” Wendall Pelham said.
A memorial date has not been set.
“He was a wonderful human being with a special heart,” his father said. “To lose one of your own children, I never thought it would be mine.”
|From NW Cable News NWCN.com
Beaverton family remembers son killed in Afghanistan
by KGW Staff
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM
Updated today at 5:40 PM
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- A Beaverton family is mourning the death of Johnathan Pelham, 22, an army intelligence officer killed in Afghanistan.
The Pelham family just learned about their son's death and Jonathan's father, Wendall Pelham, spoke with KGW Thursday about his loss.
Johnathan was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan working as a top secret intelligence analyst. He was in the field with special forces when he was killed by a gunshot, according to Wendall.
"We do know he was out on a mission doing what they do," Wendall said.
Pelham graduated from Sunset High School then went on to the College of the Redwoods for a year before joining the U.S. Army.
His father said Jonathan was always driven to be in the military and that the family has a history of service. Jonathan's grandfather and uncle were both in the armed forces.
"John always knew he going to be in the military," Wendall said. "I believe he had a phenomenal patriotic sense of being part of something bigger."
Wendall and his family knew what he was doing was dangerous but they take comfort in Jonathan's sense of integrity and courage.
"I don't know if proud begins to articulate it," Wendall said. "We have to have warriors out there every day. Because of what he chose to do, I have a son that's a hero."
|From KPTV 12 kptv.com
Local solider killed in Afghanistan remembered for his 'warrior spirit'
Posted: Feb 13, 2014 6:13 PM PST
Updated: Feb 13, 2014 6:20 PM PST
By FOX 12 Staff
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
A local soldier was killed during a classified Army mission in Afghanistan.
The family of John Alexander Pelham, 22, learned that he died of gunshot wounds Wednesday.
Pelham is a Sunset High School graduate and his family still lives in southwest Portland.
His father, Wendall Pelham, said he talked to his son on Monday. He said because of his role in the Army, he knew his son couldn't say much about the mission he was about to embark on.
Still, he said their last conversation felt different. Wendall Pelham said he was not able to get the words out to tell his son to call him back when he returned.
"Which was my affirmation that, you know, it was probably going to be the last time I talk to my son," Wendall Pelham said, fighting back tears.
This was John Pelham's second tour in Afghanistan.
Back home, he was one of six children. He played baseball and graduated from Sunset High School in 2010.
John Pelham tried junior college, according to his dad, but the Army was his true calling.
"His grandfather, my father, was career military," Wendall Pelham said. "My brother was a ranger and I believe Alex always had that warrior spirit."
John Pelham was scheduled to come home for more training and possibly go to college through the ROTC program in June.
He was also engaged to be married.
Wendall Pelham said his son was living his dream.
"He told us numerous times, 'I've never been happier. I've never been more at peace with who I am and what I'm doing,'" Wendall Pelham said. "So, as a dad, how do you refute that?"
John Pelham's body has been transported to Maryland. His father said he plans to travel there to escort his son back home for a memorial service.
|From KATU TV 2 katu.com
Beaverton soldier, Sunset H.S. graduate killed in Afghanistan
By Christian Henry, KATU News Published: Feb 13, 2014 at 6:32 PM PST
A Beaverton family is mourning the loss of their son who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
John Alexander Pelham was 22 years old and a graduate of Sunset High School. He was in his second tour of duty. Pelham is one of six children. He was not married and did not have any children of his own.
His father, Wendall Pelham, describes him as a man on a mission who was pursuing what he knew he was meant to be doing.
“He was very comfortable with who he was and what his life was and what his mission was,” said Pelham.
The fallen soldier’s uncle and grandfather both served in the military and his father says that history inspired his son.
“I believe that true warriors know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and they do it because they can and because they have a heart for it,” said Pelham.
The 22-year-old discovered that heart when he was younger and spent six months in the "Oregon Youth Challenge” program, which is run by the Oregon National Guard, where he excelled.
“He got there and he was a model soldier and a model student… that proved to him that he made the correct choice,” Pelham said
John Pelham went on to play baseball in high school and college, but he decided the military was his true calling. He worked as an intelligence analyst in the Army, but the details of his work are classified.
His family last talked to him on Monday and his father says he had a feeling it would be the last time he’d talk with his son, “I felt that when John and I finished our conversation that that was going to be the case. I couldn't say I'll talk to you when you get back nor could he say I'll call you when I get home,” said Pelham.
The Pelham family is still waiting for details on how their son died. They only know that he died in battle. The family hasn't made funeral arrangements yet, but they say the funeral will most likely be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Chapel in Beaverton.
|From The Army Times armytimes.com 02/14/14:
Pentagon IDs Special Forces soldiers killed in insider attack
Feb. 14, 2014 - 06:00AM
The Defense Department has identified two soldiers killed earlier this week in an insider attack in Afghanistan as members of 3rd Special Forces Group.
Spc. John Pelham, 22, of Portland, Ore., and Sgt. First Class Roberto Skelt, 41, of York, Fla., belonged to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Fort Bragg, N.C. Pelham was with Headquarters Company and Skelt was with Company C.
They died Wednesday, in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when they were struck by enemy small arms fire, according to the Defense Department news release published today.
Defense officials said earlier in the week that two service members were killed and four were wounded in an attack Wednesday by gunmen wearing Afghan security force uniforms in eastern Afghanistan. The soldiers were not identified at the time.
A defense official confirmed for Army Times on Friday that the slain service members were Skelt and Pelham.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the attack, which is the latest in a string of incidents in which Afghan troops turned their weapons on their supposed allies.
The officials said four Afghans involved in the attack were killed in the ensuing battle.
The frequency of these insider attacks has declined markedly in recent months. At the height of the problem, in 2012, U.S. and coalition troops were more often fighting and training alongside their Afghan partners; the relationship evolved last year with the Afghans taking a lead combat role. That has put the Americans and other coalition troops in a less visible position as advisers.
The international coalition said in a brief written statement in Kabul that two members of the international military coalition were shot to death by two gunmen wearing Afghan uniforms, but it did not provide the nationalities of the dead.
Skelt enlisted in October 1990 as a signal support systems specialist, graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course as a Special Forces engineer sergeant in 2005 and deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Yemen with 3rd Group.
Skelt went on to serve at the Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (A), Fort Bragg. He was recently reassigned to 3rd SFG (A).
Skelt‘s awards include the Bronze Star Medal (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster), the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster) and others.
He is survived by his wife and two sons, his parents, a brother and two sisters.
Pelham enlisted as a signal intelligence analyst in July 2011 and was assigned to 3rd Group in February.
His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal and others.
Pelham, who was on his second tour in Afghanistan, was engaged to be married, his family told KPTV News.
His father, Wendall Pelham, said his son often told his family, “‘I’ve never been happier. I’ve never been more at peace with who I am and what I’m doing.’”