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Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason F. Dene

Died May 24, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

37, of Castleton, Vt.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died May 24 in Baghdad of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related incident.

Vermont soldier dies of non-combat causes in Iraq

By John Curran

The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — An Army sergeant originally from Castleton has died in Iraq, but of injuries not related to combat, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason F. Dene, 37, a nephew of actress Mia Farrow, died Sunday of injuries suffered in an incident in Baghdad on Saturday, according to the Department of Defense, which gave no other details about his death except to say it was under investigation.

The Pentagon referred questions to Fort Stewart, Ga., where Dene — an infantry paratrooper — was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. A spokesman there did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday evening.

Dene’s mother is Tisa Farrow, of Castleton, whose famous sister is a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq.

On Mia Farrow’s Web site, a posting under the title “What For?” read, in part: “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.”

Dene, who attended Fair Haven High School, joined the Army in 1988.

He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and was to return to the states after the 15-month tour ended June 23, according to his wife of 16 years, Judith L. Dene.

“He was a hero,” she said in a telephone interview from Fort Stewart. “He was a hero to all of us. It’s tragic that he died so young, and so far away from us.”

Mrs. Dene, who would not discuss the circumstances surrounding his death, said he was a great father.

Dene’s uncle, Patrick Farrow, 65, of Castleton, said the family was awaiting the results of an autopsy.

“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.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason F. Dene remembered

The Associated Press

Jason F. Dene’s wife said he could best be described as “a great guy” with a “dark, sarcastic sense of humor.”

“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.”

Dene, 37, of Castleton, Vt., died May 25 in Baghdad from a non-combat-related incident. He was assigned to Fort Stewart and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

“He volunteered for every war there was while he was in, whether it was Haiti, Serbia, Bosnia,” said his father, Terry Deane, a film producer who added an “a” to his name to distinguish himself from a performer named Terry Dene. “He was a terrific father and a great son. He loved the Army. He was a warrior.”

Deane said his son suffered from terrible sleep apnea and from tinnitus, a ringing in the ears often associated with hearing damage.

“I guess it was pretty stressful for him, but he never complained,” his father said. “I didn’t even know he had any of that stuff before his death.”

Dene, who was a nephew of actress Mia Farrow, also is survived by two daughters, ages 15 and 14, and an 8-year-old son.

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