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Army Spc. Charles S. Jirtle

Died June 7, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

29, of Lawton, Okla.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died June 7 in Konar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed in the attack were Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala, Spc. Matthew R. Catlett, and Spc. Blaine E. Redding.

Most 101st soldiers killed in 1 day since 2003

By Jake Lowary

The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle

Fort Campbell on June 16 identified four of the five soldiers who died June 7 in one of the deadliest days for the 101st Airborne Division in recent memory.

According to Fort Campbell, the soldiers who died were:

* Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala, 23, of Yigo, Guam.

* Spc. Matthew R. Catlett, 23, of Houston, Texas.

* Spc. Charles S. Jirtle, 29, of Lawton, Okla.

* Spc. Blaine E. Redding, 22, of Plattsmouth, Neb.

The Associated Press reported the fifth soldier who died was First Sgt. Robert N. Barton, a Roxie, Miss., native.

They were all assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and died when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the Dangam district of Kunar Province.

The deaths are the most in a single day since members of the division began deploying to the country earlier this year. It’s also the most casualties in a single day since a helicopter crashed in Mosul, Iraq, in 2003, killing four 101st soldiers.

Lukeala is survived by his wife, Deniece N. Lukeala, and daughter, Maiya L. Lukeala, of Hanford, Calif.; and parents, Anthony and Dorothy Lukeala of Yigo, Guam. Catlett is survived by his wife, Brytnee L. Catlett, and two daughters, Ryann and Stephanie Catlett of Houston, Texas; his mother, Jerrie Catlett of Houston, Texas; and father, Darrel Catlett of Texas.

Jirtle is survived by his wife, Savannah L. Jirtle of Fort Campbell; daughters Cheyenne and Chelsie; and son, Jordan of Lawton, Okla.; and his parents, Terry L. and Virginia C. Jirtle of Lawton, Okla.

Redding is survived by his wife, Victoria Redding of Lincoln, Neb.; mother, Teresa Redding of Elmwood, Neb.; and father, Blaine Redding, of Lincoln, Neb.

A memorial service for the soldiers will be held in Afghanistan, and the soldiers will again be honored at a future Eagle Remembrance Ceremony at Fort Campbell.

Hundreds attended Jirtle’s funeral

The Associated Press

LAWTON, Okla. — A Lawton infantryman who left behind a pregnant wife and three young children when he died in Afghanistan is being remembered as an “American hero” and a family man.

Hundreds of mourners filled the First Baptist East Church in Lawton on June 16 to honor Army Spc. Charles Scott Jirtle, 29. Jirtle and four other soldiers from Fort Campbell, Ky., were killed June 7 when their patrol struck a roadside bomb in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan.

All were assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Pastor Trey Smart said Jirtle had graduated to the realm of an “American hero” for his service to his country. He left behind his pregnant wife, Savannah, their daughters, Cheyenne, 8, and Chelsie, 5, and son Jordan, 4.

Jirtle, who served a tour in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, had been in Afghanistan three weeks. His final posting on Facebook read: “Savannah is having a real problem with this deployment, and I pray to God that He will watch over her and my children.”

Those attending fought back tears as a slide show played on giant overhead screens, displaying images of Jirtle’s childhood, teenage years and military career. One image showing Jirtle kissing the belly of his pregnant wife before his May deployment brought sobs from mourners.

Smart said Jirtle’s unborn son will be named Charles Scott Jirtle Jr.

“Our son Charles Scott Jirtle joined the Army because he wanted to take care of his children,” Jirtle’s parents, Virginia and Terry Jirtle, said in a statement. “He extended his enlistment for this deployment, knowing that he was going to a very hot spot.”

On a lighter note, Smart told of how Jirtle’s four older brothers would recruit him when they heard the ice cream truck coming down the street.

“They always knew if they sent Scott to ask Terry and Virginia for money, they wouldn’t turn him down because he was the youngest,” Smart said.

During the service, Brig. Gen. Ross E. Ridge, commander of Fort Sill’s School of Artillery, gave folded American flags to Savannah Jirtle and to Jirtle’s parents. Ridge also knelt by Jirtle’s three children, handed each a flag, then stood and saluted each child.

Jirtle was an indirect fire infantryman who joined the Army in July 2007 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2007.

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