Friday, April 29, 2011

Jonathan A.V. Yelner, Air Force, Senior Airman -- Rest In Peace

Jonathan A.V. Yelner, 24

Air Force, Senior Airman
Based: Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: April 29, 2008
Bagram, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: Lafayette
High School: De La Salle High School (Concord)
Burial: Oakmont Cemetery, Lafayette, Calif.

From Military Times:
Senior Airman Jonathan A.V. Yelner — Vega to his friends — had no difficulty holding his own among the soldiers at Forward Operating Base Kutschbach, Afghanistan.

“As one of the very few airmen on the FOB, the other soldiers down there enjoyed razzing Yelner up quite a bit. He never let it bother him and was quick to shoot back with a smart comment,” Army Capt. Casey McCausland, Kapisa South Civil Affairs team leader, recalled at his memorial service at Bagram Air Base.

Yelner, 24, was just a few months into a yearlong tour with the Army when he was killed April 29 by an improvised explosive device near Bagram. A bomb loader by training, he volunteered for the in-lieu-of tasking as a Humvee driver for the Kapisa and Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team, a job he did carefully and conscientiously.

“From setting up the radios, to mounting the crew serve weapon ... we could always count on Yelner to get it done right the first time,” McCausland said.

Master Sgt. Felipe Richards, the PRT first sergeant, remembered Yelner as a “smart, vibrant, full-of-life person who brought a smile to my face.”

The California native enlisted in the Air Force in October 2003 and was assigned to the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., as a weapons load crew member for the B-1B bomber, according to Bagram officials. It was his third deployment, but his first in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I’m very proud of him,” his father, Bruce Yelner of El Cerrito, Calif., told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was performing one of the ... nobler duties of the military in Afghanistan. He did a lot of good for the local Afghans.”

In addition to his mother, Yolanda Vega he is survived by his father, Bruce Yelner; his stepfather, Bill Theile; and a brother, Mathew Luis Vega Yelner.
Do read the LA Times article about Air Force Senior Airman and find more about Airman Jonathan Yelner at the Jewish Daily Forward.

Lieutenant Col. William D. Andersen, Kapisa-Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team commander, salutes Army Col. Jonathan Ives upon uncovering the sign dedicating a dining facility on Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan to Senior Airman Jonathan A.V. Yelner. Airman Yelner, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., was killed April 29 when an improvised explosive device detonated underneath his vehicle in Tag Ab Valley, Kapisa Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo

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