- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Marine Capt. Jennifer J. Harris
Died February 7, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
28, of Swampscott, Mass.; assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Feb. 7 when the helicopter she was flying in crashed while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. Also killed were 1st Lt. Jared M. Landaker, Sgt. Travis D. Pfister, Cpl. Thomas E. Saba, Sgt. James R. Tijerina, Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Gilbert Minjares Jr. and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel A. Ruiz.
Swampscott, Mass., Marine killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, a Swampscott woman and Naval Academy graduate, died when the helicopter she was piloting crashed Feb. 7 in a field northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board.
Harris, 28, a graduate of Swampscott High School, was on her third tour and was scheduled to be home next week, said Jim Schultz, the town veterans’ agent.
“She was a great kid,” he said.
Harris was the second Swampscott resident to die in Iraq in the last six months and is believed to be the first woman from Massachusetts to die in the war. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, died when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.
“Jennifer Harris exemplified the best of what this country has to offer,” a statement released by family spokesman Anthony Macone said. “She had a passion for life and was a compassionate human being.”
Macone declined to comment further when contacted by The Associated Press.
Harris graduated from the Naval Academy in 2000, after choosing the difficult path of training as a Marine officer, Schultz said.
“She liked to take on the challenges,” Schultz said.
The crash that killed Harris remains under investigation, with conflicting reports of what caused the transport helicopter to go down. A U.S. military statement gave no reason for the crash of the CH-46 Sea Knight, which went down near Fallujah in Anbar province, about 20 miles from Baghdad. Marine Corps officials at the Pentagon said the aircraft was in flames when it went down, but there was no sign that it involved hostile fire.
An Iraqi air force officer, however, said the helicopter was downed by an anti-aircraft missile. An al-Qaida-linked group, the Islamic State in Iraq, claimed on its Web site that it shot down the helicopter.
Marine pilot killed in Iraq buried in Swampscott
The Associated Press
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — The first servicewoman from Massachusetts to be killed in the Iraq war was buried with full military honors Monday, less than two weeks after the helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down.
Marine Capt. Jennifer Harris, 28, was taken by horse-drawn hearse to a funeral service at St. John the Evangelist Church. Bagpipes played as Marines in full uniform carried her casket inside.
The eulogy was delivered by Lt. Rose Gascinski, who roomed with Harris at the Naval Academy before Harris, of Swampscott, graduated in 2000. Harris then choose the difficult path of training as a Marine officer.
Speaking before the service, Gascinski said Harris earned the nickname “Dove” at the Naval Academy for her calm demeanor in the face of adversity. Gascinski said those qualities would have served Harris well when the Marine CH-46 troop transport she was piloting went down northwest of Baghdad on Feb. 7.
“I was thinking that if I wanted anybody to be my pilot in that moment, I would want it to be her,” Gascinski said.
All seven people on board the helicopter were killed. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, and aired a video.
Harris’ body arrived home Thursday, accompanied by a Marine escort, Maj. Christopher Aaby, her fiance.
Harris, a graduate of Swampscott High School, had been on her third tour in Iraq. She was scheduled to return home the week after she was killed.
Harris was the second Swampscott resident to be killed in Iraq in the last six months. Army Spc. Jared Raymond, 20, of Swampscott, was killed when the tank he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb on Sept. 19 in Taji, Iraq.