By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Local soldier killed in Iraq
Placeholder Image
Fort Stewart resident Judith Dene said she lost her best friend Sunday when her husband Sgt. 1st Class Jason Dene died in Iraq.
The Department of Defense said Wednesday the 37-year-old sergeant died May 25 from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident on May 24 in Baghdad. Officials declined to release further details about the circumstances surrounding the soldier's death because it is currently under investigation.
Searching for the words to describe her husband of 16 years, Judith Dene said he could best be described as "a great guy" with a "dark, sarcastic sense of humor."
But behind the jokes and the sarcasm, she said, her husband was a loving, family man and dedicated paratrooper with the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
"He loved his kids and he loved me. We had a great 16 years together," Judith Dene said. "And he was proud of his military life. He was proud to be part of the elite."
Not all of the family shared his sentiments.
Dene's uncle, Patrick Farrow, 65, of Castleton, Vt., the soldier's hometown, told the Associated Press:
"I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach. I've been opposed to this war since the beginning. This lying Bush administration has gotten into this thing that has now killed my nephew. It's up close and personal, and I am deeply angry," Farrow said.
Dene's aunt, actress Mia Farrow, is known for opposing the war, but was not as blunt. On her Web site, she wrote:
"Jason loved his parents and sister, his wife Judi and their three small children. He also loved his country and he was proud to serve it. But I honestly don't know why Jason died."
Judith Dene sid her husband was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and was scheduled to return to the states after his 15-month tour ended June 23.
She said she and the couple's three children (two daughters, ages 15 and 14, and an 8-year-old son) are coping with the loss as best they can through faith and strength "that we can't explain where it's coming from."
It will be hard, though, she said.
"He's going to be greatly missed by all of us. It's just very tragic that he was so far away when this happened.
"The special way that he would always try to take care of me. He always looked out for me and I always thought that was very sweet. We cared for each other deeply."
Sign up for our e-newsletters