Monday, May 9, 2011

Mary Jane Jaenichen, Army, Specialist -- Rest In Peace

Mary J. Jaenichen, 20

Army, Specialist
Based: Ft. Stewart, Ga.
Brigade Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: May 9, 2008
Iskandariya, Iraq
Gender: Female
Hometown: Temecula
High School: El Camino High (Oceanside)
Burial: Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Oceanside

Jaenichen, 20, died of a noncombat-related injury May 9 in Iskandariya, Iraq, south of Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense, which has not released details of an ongoing investigation. It was her only tour of Iraq.

The 2006 graduate had signed up for the Army Reserve at age 17 with the promise of a military-funded college education. She attended boot camp between her junior and senior years.
Her father, Alfred Alan "Jay" Jaenichen of Santa Ana, who recently retired as a Marine master sergeant, said she was serving as a military police officer at a "detainee holding area" -- a prison.

He said it was hard for her: "The detainees were young kids -- 17, 16 -- and they'd be there crying. She told me, 'I'd like to comfort them, but knowing why they're there, I couldn't do it.' "

At his daughter's request, he sent her coloring books and stuffed animals to distribute to children.

Born in Fallbrook, Mary Jane Jaenichen lived with her mother, Julieta, in Temecula, and, after her parents divorced when she was 11, visited her father and stepmother every other weekend, her father said.

While in Iraq, one comfort was a stuffed doll from home -- a 2-foot-tall Elmo, the lovable Sesame Street figure with the red fur and goofy smile.

"She said she was always saving Elmo from the rest of the squad," her father said. "The guys in her unit would pin him to the dart board. They would hide him. Once they taped him to the front of her Humvee. They would pick on Elmo just to pick on her. . . . But mostly it was in fun."

On her belt loop, Jaenichen wore a brass medallion, a religious token from her mother's Filipino family that her father had worn during the seven months he had served during Operation Desert Storm. "Now I understand some of the stuff you were going through," she wrote him.

He said he treasures a Bible his daughter gave him, with a note saying, "You've done your time. Its time for me to protect the country."

She was buried with a rifle volley salute May 24 at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside. Her high school classmates turned out to mourn her.

In addition to her parents, Jaenichen is survived by two half sisters and two half brothers.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Mary Jane Jaenichen here.
Find pictures at her Memorial site
and visit Specialist Mary J. Jaenichen's Guest Book.

Warriors Walk adds three more memorial trees:
Julie Jaenichen is followed by other family members as her casualty assistance soldier escorts her to the Warriors Walk memorial and tree dedication ceremony at Fort Stewart.
Jaenichen's daughter, Spc. Mary Jane Jaenichen, was one of three 3rd Infantry Division soldiers remembered at the service. Also remembered were Spc. Kyle P. Norris and Pvt. Ronald R. Harrison .
Read the Savannah Morning News story here.

Army Specialist Mary Jane Jaenichen previously remembered at Boom3.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Thanks for serveing our country for our freedom and safety.