Navy, community honor Kitsap sailor killed in Afghanistan
June 12, 2008 · Updated 1:28 PM
Lt. Jeffrey Ammon, 37, died in combat during operations in Afghanistan.
More than 1,200 sailors and guests attended the Commander, Navy Region Northwest memorial June 4 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, to honor a fallen Northwest Sailor.
Lt. Jeffrey Ammon, 37, was killed in an improvised explosive device attack in the Aband district of Afghanistan May 20.
Rear Adm. James Symonds, commander, Navy Region Northwest, said during the memorial that peace does not preserve itself and that freedom isn’t free, and added that the work of building a better tomorrow for all humanity entails sacrifice.
“Tragically, that sacrifice has touched the Northwest Navy family,” Symonds said.
“We lost a shipmate and a friend, a sailor working to preserve peace to build a better tomorrow for the people of Afghanistan and for the people of America.”
Provincial Reconstruction Teams are responsible for supporting the government of Afghanistan’s efforts to improve security and democratic governance by providing essential services and helping expand economic opportunity.
Cmdr. Scott Cooledge, who served as the commanding officer of PRT Ghazni, Afghanistan for a year, said Ammon also was an American soldier and a statesman.
“He was my field engineer who did the quality control inspections, additionally he managed all the local nationals who worked for the PRT and finally, and most importantly, he was a statesman for the U.S. government and an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne, always ready to run and gun on any mission,” Cooledge said. “Like all my men, he earned an 82nd Airborne combat patch that he wore on his shoulder and an Army combat action badge on his chest.”
Ammon extended his tour and remained in Afghanistan because he believed he was making a difference, Cooledge said.
“Jeff had no regrets because he had learned, as we all had, that even one day spent as a lion was far better than a lifetime lived as a lamb,” Cooledge said. “Jeff was a selfless leader who always went first, taking the danger head-on so others didn’t have to. That’s why he volunteered for every mission that rolled out the gate…that’s why he stayed for a second tour.”
Symonds went on to emphasize the meaning of Ammon’s service.
“Freedom, opportunity and prosperity are precious blessings; they were not left to us in perpetuity, they were not gained without great sacrifice and they will not be preserved without purpose and without valor,” Symonds said.
“Jeff was working with purpose, working with valor, to maintain those things we hold most precious and to give them as a gift to a nation not his own.”
More than 10,100 Navy individual augmentees are deployed on the ground around the world in support of the global war on terror, of which, nearly 1,500 are in Afghanistan.
Ammon is survived by his wife and two children.