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Sgt Jasper K Obakrairur - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Jasper K Obakrairur

Hilo, Hawaii

June 1, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
26 Army Sgt

2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)

Fort Drum, New York

 Killed in Nerkh, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Sgt Jasper K Obakrairur - www.OurWarHeroes.org Sgt Jasper K Obakrairur - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Sgt. Jasper K. Obakrairur of Hilo, Hawaii joined the Army in March 2004 and has served at Fort Drum since August 2004.
He was a graduate of the Combat Life Savers Course and Warrior Leader Course among others. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. He was posthumously awarded a bronze star and purple heart Tuesday. He had previously deployed to Afghanistan from January 2006 to May 2007. Jasper is survived by his mother, father and sister. He died at age 26 in Nerkh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. 
From Guam PDN guampdn.com 06/07/09:

BREAKING NEWS - 10:17: a.m.: Army soldier from Palau dies in Afghanistan bombing

Army Sgt. Jasper K. Obakrairur, 26, a native of Palau, was killed in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on June 1, the Department of Defense has confirmed.

The Army recruiting office in Hilo confirmed that Obakrairur joined the Army in Hilo in March 2004.

Obakrairur died after a homemade bomb exploded near his vehicle in Nerkh, according to the Department of Defense. Nerkh is about 25 miles southwest of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The Honolulu Advertiser also reported that Obakrairur was a former computer science student at the University of Hawai'i-Hilo.

UH-Hilo spokeswoman Alyson Kakugawa-Leong said Obakrairur attended classes there from August 2000 to May 2001 but did not graduate.

Obakrairur was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of Fort Drum, N.Y.
From The Star Bulletin starbulletin.com 06/06/09:

Afghan roadside bomb kills soldier from Hilo

POSTED: Saturday, June 06, 2009 
A 26-year-old Hilo soldier was killed in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle, the Army said in a news release.

Sgt. Jasper K. Obakrairur died Monday in Nerkh from injuries he suffered from the bomb. He was a team leader with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y., according to a news release.

Obakrairur deployed to Afghanistan in January. He joined the Army in March 2004 and served at Fort Drum since August of that year. According to the Fort Drum Daily News Web site, Obakrairur was a native of Palau.

His numerous awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the NATO Medal and Combat Infantry Badge.

Obakrairur was a graduate of the Combat Life Savers Course and Warrior Leader Course. He previously deployed to Afghanistan from January 2006 to May 2007.

Obakrairur is survived by his mother, father and sister.
From The new York Senate nysenate.gov 05/04/10:

Mourning the untimely death of Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur

LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the untimely death of Sergeant Jasper K.
Obakrairur, and paying tribute to his courageous actions as a member of
the United States Army

WHEREAS, The courage and bravery of our military personnel since the
United States Armed Forces commenced Operation Iraqi Freedom will ensure
our continued role as a Nation which embodies the ideals of democracy,
and as a defender of liberty for people throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, Members of the Armed Services from the State of New York, who
have served so valiantly and honorably during Operation Enduring Free-
dom, deserve a special salute from this Legislative Body; and
WHEREAS, It is with feelings of deepest regret that this Legislative
Body mourns the untimely death of Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur, and
pays tribute to his courageous actions as a member of the United States
Army; and
WHEREAS, Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur, a team leader with the 2nd
Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Moun-
tain Division died in Nerkh, Afghanistan on Monday, June 1, 2009, in a
roadside bomb attack; and
WHEREAS, The 2-87th deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
in the January 2009 timeframe; Sergeant Obakrairur of Hilo, Hawaii,
joined the United States Army in March of 2004, and served at Fort Drum
since August of that year; and
WHEREAS, Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur, 26 years old, was a graduate
of the Combat Life Savers Course and Warrior Leader Course among others;
previously he deployed to Afghanistan from January 2006 to May 2007; and
WHEREAS, This outstanding soldier's awards and decorations include the
Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct
Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with
Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned
Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas
Service Ribbon (2), NATO Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the
Combat Infantry Badge; and
WHEREAS, Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur is survived by his mother,
Florence Kambalang; father, Demei Obakrairur; and one sister; and
WHEREAS, The banner of freedom will always wave over our beloved New
York and all of America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave;
and
WHEREAS, Residents of this great State must never forget the courage
with which these men and women served their country, and must recognize
that no greater debt is owed than that owed to those who gave their
lives for their beloved Nation and to those who continue to be missing
in action; and
WHEREAS, The freedoms and security we cherish as Americans come at a
very high price for those serving in the military in times of conflict;
it is fitting and proper that we who are the beneficiaries of those who
risk their lives, leaving their families behind, express our appreci-
ation and eternal gratitude for their sacrifices and courageous acts;
now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the untimely death of Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur, and to pay
tribute to his courageous actions as a member of the United States Army;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Sergeant Jasper K. Obakrairur.
From The Los Angeles Times latimes.com 06/17/09:

Palau divided over countrymen fighting for U.S.
The small nation is one of a handful of Pacific islands that have suffered a disproportionate number of casualties. Many young people become U.S. soldiers in part to escape poverty.
June 17, 2009|John M. Glionna
KOROR, PALAU — They carried Sgt. Jasper Obakrairur's body home Tuesday in a casket draped with an American flag for a service held inside a domed government complex modeled on the U.S. Capitol.

Obakrairur wasn't American, but a 26-year-old native of this Pacific island nation. He joined the U.S. Army five years ago, inspired by a sense of duty and a plan for a better life.
Known as Jazz by island friends, and as Sgt. O.B. by fellow soldiers, he was killed by a roadside bomb June 1 in a town outside Kabul, Afghanistan.

His funeral, held on a morning of sudden showers that alternated with stifling tropical sun, symbolized the division here over the fact that young Palauans are serving -- and dying -- in the military of a nation not their own.

Watching the funeral and the casket-carrying soldiers with their precise movements, Lory Ngemaes felt torn.

"We're proud one of our own fought for America," she said. "But I told my 13-year-old son, 'You're not going. You are a Palauan.' "

In recent years, far-flung Pacific islands have suffered an outsized share of war casualties. Hundreds of their young have joined the U.S. military, often as a way out of isolation and poverty.

Guam, the Northern Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau have lost 32 men and women since 2003. A comparable fatality rate would stagger many U.S. communities.

Obakrairur is the fourth Palauan to be killed in conflict and the second to be buried here on the island, 4,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. The republic of 20,000 residents has 200 fighting men and women in U.S. uniforms, according to Palauan officials.

A former U.S. territory with close ties to Washington, Palau has tried to demonstrate its value as an ally. In a move hailed by the Obama administration, President Johnson Toribiong this month agreed to accept 13 Chinese Uighurs from the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The decision to accept the Uighurs has further divided a populace already split by the willingness of some Palauans to fight under the U.S. flag.

Many endure each loss with stoicism, reasoning that U.S. servicemen lost their lives here. Palau was a major World War II battle site, and ships that sank during the fighting still litter its lagoons.

"The Palauans who join the military are considered heroes here," said Fermin Meriang, editor of the local Island Times.

But some, including former Palauan President Tommy Remengesau Jr., bristle at the presence of U.S. military recruiters.

"Our soldiers have served side by side with Americans. Now another has been killed -- blown up in a roadside bomb. Isn't that the ultimate sacrifice?" he said. "I think Palau has done its duty."
At a bar in Koror, a woman challenged an American, saying her son was stationed at the same Ft. Drum, N.Y., Army base where Obakrairur had received training.

"Why are we fighting your wars, for freedom? We already have freedom in Palau," she said angrily. "If my son dies, I am going to kill you and all the Americans who come here."

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Donald J. Goldhorn, who spoke at the service, told The Times that many small islands in the region had suffered high losses.

"But it will not deter people from this incredibly patriotic part of the world," he said.

Raphael Ngirmang, a stocky, white-haired Marine Corps veteran who is now one of Palau's top two tribal chiefs, said Palau owes a debt to the U.S.

"We're out here on an island in the middle of nowhere," said Ngirmang, a 27-year veteran who served in Vietnam. "The U.S. is responsible for our national defense. So we reciprocate. We may be a small island, but we've got a big heart."

The night before, islanders lined a darkened harbor causeway, lighting candles and waving American and Palauan flags.

They were waiting for the U.S. military plane to arrive with Obakrairur's remains, waiting for their boy to come home.

In the tightknit island culture, many people knew Obakrairur. He left Palau to attend college in Hawaii, where he joined the U.S. Army in 2004.

His father, Demei Obakrairur, told the Island Times that "when he spoke to us, he told us he's 21 already so he made up his mind."

Jason Vaughn, a soldier in Obakrairur's company, said there were two roadside explosions in the Afghan village of Nerkh. The first killed three soldiers. Obakrairur died in a second blast while en route to help injured comrades.

"The only good thing is that he didn't suffer," Vaughn said.

He said Obakrairur was a dedicated soldier whose Palauan accent was often difficult to understand "when he shouted orders at you."

Vaughn accompanied the body to Palau. He and another soldier, Chris Saenz, opened the casket the day before the funeral and noticed that some of Obakrairur's medals were missing. They replaced them with their own as they dusted the lint off his uniform.

On Tuesday, 250 residents crowded into the government complex for the military funeral. They held their hands over their hearts when both the U.S. and Palauan national anthems were performed.

His voice breaking, President Toribiong addressed Obakrairur's parents and sister. "To say thank you is not enough," he said. "But we sincerely appreciate your giving up a son, a Palauan son."

Then the motorcade of 100 cars drove slowly through mangrove jungle to bury Obakrairur in his native village, where the 87-year-old chief paid his last respects to a soldier who died in a modern war.

From Ft Drum drum.army.mil 2007

The Mountaineer Online

Soldiers graduate Warrior Leader Course

Stephanie J. Santos 
Staff Writer

Community members honored 110 Soldiers who graduated Nov. 13 from the Warrior Leader Course during a ceremony in Multipurpose Auditorium.

The Warrior Leader Course teaches Soldiers what to do in situations where leadership is required; training management, which includes combat and operation orders and troop-leading procedures; and warfighting skills, which includes battle drills and how to react to improvised explosive devices.

Guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Robert G. Lehtonen shared words of advice and encouragement with graduates.
“The effect you have on your Soldiers is everlasting and will impact their future,” he said. 

“You will be expected to have high standards. Do not just memorize the NCO Creed, but study it and study it often. No one can replace or duplicate the knowledge you have gained. Take your experience from the field and incorporate it into your training. Today’s sergeants are tomorrow’s command sergeants majors.”

Cpl. Hugh D. Fry, B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, was named Distinguished Honor Graduate for earning the highest academic average.
The John D. Magrath Leadership Award went to Sgt. Jose M. Rivas, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-32 Infantry.

Commandant’s Inspection winner was Sgt. Simon A. Campbell, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment.

Sgt. Damien J. Stepka, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, earned the Iron Soldier Award for earning the highest physical training score.

The following Soldiers were named to the Commandant’s List: Spec. Bryan K. Bennett, 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment; Sgt. James Bigouette, White House Communication Agency; Cpl. Robert M. Brandt, 1-32 Infantry; Sgt. Melanie R. Coronado, 10th Mountain Division (LI); Sgt. Esau I. Delapena-Hernandez, 2-87 Infantry; Sgt. Charles J. Hoelscher, 10th Division Special Troops Battalion; Cpl. Michael C. Irwin, 1-32 Infantry; Cpl. Anthony M. Kienlen, 2-87 Infantry; Sgt. Mathew S. Lauilefue, 3rd General Support Aviation; Spec. Bruce C. Liptak Jr., 710th Brigade Support Battalion; Sgt. John M. Phillips, 3rd Brigade Support Troops Battalion; Sgt. Donald F. Pond, 2-87 Infantry; Cpl. Jason F. Poor, 3rd BSTB; Spec. Vlaun J. Samuels, 10th Sustainment Brigade Troops Battalion; Spec. Christopher R. Shupe, 3-71 Cavalry; Sgt. Elmer W. Strickland, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment; Sgt. Katherine M. Toon, 710 BSB; Spec. Sean Q. Tyler, 3-71 Cavalry; Sgt. Jorge A. Villaverde, 3-71 Cavalry; Sgt. Richard J. Vondadelszen, 1-32 Infantry; Sgt. Charles R. Wilkerson III, 7th Engineer Battalion, and Sgt. William Wilson, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment.

Other WLC graduates are as follows: Spec. Greg K. Adams, Sgt. Allison L. Adkins, Sgt. Anthony D. Agosta, Spec. Llora F. Agustin, Spec. Bernard D. Anlage IV, Sgt. Troy M. Baldauf, Cpl. Kevin M. Bartlett, Sgt. James M. Berge, Sgt. Grant G. Biggar, Sgt. Andrew L. Blattel, Spec. Leslie A. Bohde, Sgt. Eric J. Breeze, Sgt. James W. Brice, Sgt. Christopher K. Carroll, Spec. Veronica A. Castillo, Spec. Melvin E. Cedillo-Martinez, Sgt. Erika Cheney, Cpl. Robert A. Croall, Spec. Erik T. Daguerre, Sgt. Thomas C. Daily Jr., Spec. Peter Z. Dakurah, Spec. Kevin P. Dwyer, Sgt. Spencer S. Easton, Spec. Erwin D. Echavez, Spec. Taner W. Edens, Sgt. Letitia T. Frink, Spec. Rigoberto C. Garcia, Sgt. Anthony B. Gendreau, Sgt. Jesse J. Gronseth, Sgt. Andrew J. Halliday, Sgt. Robert T. Hickox, Sgt. Christopher Hinshaw, Cpl. Dietrich R. Hodge, Sgt. Michael D. Jackson, Cpl. David Kelley, Sgt. Sinead E. Kelly, Sgt. Marcus D. Knockless, Sgt. John R. Lemons II, Spec. Erik R. Lindberg, Sgt. Taborri L. Lindsey, Spec. Valeria A. Lopez, Spec. Terry J. Lynch and Spec. Jonathan S. Lyons.

Also, Cpl. Carlos E. Maldonado, Sgt. Brandon J. McDonald, Spec. Samuel A. McDowell, Sgt. Jaclyn S. McJilton, Cpl. Jason T. Melanson, Sgt. Kristopher D. Mills, Spec. Michael D. Moore, Sgt. Eric A. Muma, Sgt. Dustin W. Murphy, Cpl. Stephen M. Netzley, Cpl. Shane M. Neuendorf, Cpl. Jeffrey P. Newman, Cpl. Steven M. Nichols, Spec. James C. Nunley, Sgt. Jasper K. Obakrairur, Spec. Susana G. Osmin, Spec. Michelle M. Parton, Cpl. Kenneth R. Paul Jr., Sgt. Kenneth B. Petillo, Sgt. Jason Pompa, Sgt. Joseph C. Pryor, Sgt. Yevgeniy G. Radionov, Spec. Joshua C. Renken, Sgt. Jose I. Rojas-Cotto, Spec. Andrew M. Roy, Sgt. James P. Ryan, Spec. Brian C. Schumacher, Cpl. Nashat N. Sheikho, Sgt. Lloyd A. Sherman, Sgt. Karl E. Sholtz, Sgt. Dorris K. Sione, Sgt. Jermaine Stafford, Sgt. Kevin Stirgus, Sgt. Lori A. Swetof, Sgt. Steven M. Talaga, Sgt. Josue Ten, Spec. Tashane J. Vann, Spec. Christopher A. Wade, Spec. Thomas D. Walton, Sgt. Michael J. Waters and Cpl. Richard W. Wijangco.

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