All of the soldiers who were on your helicopter came home early. Some were severely wounded and some with minor injuries. I had the opportunity to speak to Sergeant Tech and he promised to answer all my questions. The Army has given me nothing because the investigation isn’t complete. I still have no cause of death and the coroner has been finished for weeks. I remain frustrated.

It appears that Jake’s team was routinely picking up an Afghani casualty and coming in for landing. They were close enough to the ground that they all unbuckled except the pilots. As they approached the ground, there was chaos. The Blackhawk shot back up into the air and spun out of control, throwing some from the helicopter and others jumped as they got close enough to the ground. The helicopter crashed and Sergeant Tech noticed that someone was actually under the “bird”. He said he was the first to respond. He checked for all signs of response and there were none. Jake had died quickly. The wounded were flown 45 minutes to Kandahar and the three that were not wounded stayed behind with Jake as equipment was flown in to free him from the 24,000 pounds of metal that lay upon his lifeless body. The jaws of life were used along with other equipment, and it took between 2 and 3 hours to free him. He was the last one to be flown to the Apache FOB and then to Kandahar. I was told that they usually respectfully lay the casualties on the floor of the chopper but the three of his brothers who returned with him gently laid him across their laps and held him for the entire 45 minute flight back. I was assured he was never left alone, but loved and cared for respectfully and honorably as he returned back to the base.

Jake, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Did you suffer? Were you afraid? Did you see the helicopter crashing down on you? I have always had a need to care for you and to protect you, but I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t make this better for you. I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry, my sweet Jake. I would do anything to change this but I can’t. This is a vision I never wanted in my head, but details I needed to know. I’m so sorry, Jake.

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