Skip to comments.Servicemembers mourn loss of one of their own
Posted on 07/24/2008 5:31:03 PM PDT by SandRat
7/24/2008 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFPN) -- The Joint Base Balad Town Hall filled with brothers and sisters mourning the loss of a military family member July 20.
Tech. Sgt. Jackie Larsen, a paralegal working with the Law and Order Task Force of the 732nd Expeditionary Support Squadron, died from non-combat related causes July 17.
Sergeant Larsen, deployed from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., operated out of Forward Operating Base Shield and was the NCO in charge of all personnel movements for the LAOTF. The LAOTF trains Iraqi lawyers, paralegals and investigators in proper investigations and documentation of evidence used in legal cases.
Sergeant Larsen coordinated the daily internal movements for the members of the LAOTF, which works, directly with 26 investigative judges, 15 prosecutors and four trial judges. She also coordinated the daily external movements for members of the LAOTF team who traveled around the country investigating major crimes.
"When (Sergeant Larsen) arrived at FOB Shield, she selected her job as the movements NCO because she wanted to ensure that every member of LAOTF got to and from their destination safely," said Tech. Sgt. Narda Martinez, who attended pre-deployment training with Sergeant Larsen and worked alongside her. "I believe she liked her job, but like most of us, missed her family back home."
Since arriving in Iraq in early May, Sergeant Larsen coordinated more than 600 movements for the 1,200 people assigned to the LAOTF.
"She did her job without complaint and with passion, particularly with the professional and personal relationships she established with our security contractors," said Lt. Col. William Rogers, the LAOTF Defense Bar Initiatives team chief, deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va.
Sergeant Larsen regularly spoke about her family: her sisters and their children, her husband, her mother, and her dogs, Sergeant Martinez said.
"Sergeant Larsen was a caring, selfless individual who would do anything for you," said Sergeant Martinez, who is deployed from Yokota Air Base, Japan. "If you forgot something at home, or just didn't think to bring that particular item, you can rest assured that Sergeant Larsen had it. And if she did, she never minded sharing." Sergeant Martinez recounted a story about losing a pair of earrings.
"When (Sergeant Larsen) asked me where I lost them, I told her 'I think I left them in my pocket, in the wash,'" she said. "Sergeant Larsen gave me a pair of her own. Those are the small things that made Jackie special to me -- a person with a big heart."
Sergeant Martinez wore those earrings to the Joint Base Balad memorial service when she and Colonel Rogers flew in from FOB Shield to speak about Sergeant Larsen's admirable actions and character.
During the memorial service, Sergeant Larsen received a Meritorious Service Medal. The ceremony also included a 21-gun salute and a presentation of a flag that had flown over Balad the day of her passing. The honor guard unfolded the flag, then folded and prepared the colors for presentation to Sergeant Larsen's family at home in Tacoma, Wash.
"To witness and play a part in two separate memorial services for (Sergeant) Larsen was to see the United States Air Force, and our sister services, at their absolute finest," Colonel Rogers said. "The caring, compassion, solemnity and consummate professionalism displayed were a powerful testament to the respect and tribute the military pays to our sisters and brothers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country."
A memorial service was held for Tech. Sgt. Jackie Larsen July 20 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Sergeant Larsen, who died from non-combat related causes July 17, was a paralegal working with the Law and Order Task Force of the 732nd Expeditionary Support Squadron. Her duties placed her at Forward Operating Base Shield where she served as the NCO in charge of all personnel movements for the LAOTF. She was deployed from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and her hometown was Tacoma, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo)
So sad. Prayers for her family.
How’d she die?
All I know is what’s in the story.
Jackie L. Larsen, a resident of Olivehurst, CA. Born on October 10, 1970 in Subie Bay Naval Base, Philippines. Died on July 17, 2008 at the Balad Air Base in Iraq at the age of 37. She was a superintendent of the Legal Office. She has been a resident of the Yuba-Sutter area for the last 2 years. Jackie was serving in the United States Air Force in Balad, Iraq at the time of her sudden illness and untimely death.
She is survived by her loving husband of 8 years, Scott Larsen a long time resident of the Yuba-Sutter area; her mother, Zenaida Upton of Plumas Lake, CA; her father, John Upton who resides in Auburndale, Florida; her sisters, Mena Longmire of Kosamond, CA, Donna Heidtke of Eugene, OR, Maritess Pidlaoan, Marilou Mari, and Carazon Rodriquez all of the Philippines. She is also survived by her niece, Ashley McKenzie and nephews, Brandon and Ryan Longmire. Funeral services will be held at the Ullrey Memorial Chapel at 817 Almond St., Yuba City, CA on Monday, July 28, 2008 at 1:00 PM. Final Graveside Services with full military honors will follow at the Sutter Cemetery in Sutter, CA. Visitation hours will be from 5-7 PM on Sunday evening with Rosary at 6:00 PM at the Chapel.
Published in the Appeal Democrat on 7/24/2008