Army Rangers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week paid their respects to a fellow soldier who took his own life just before their battalion deployed to Afghanistan, recognizing a veteran Ranger whose death gained national attention.
Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann, 25, killed himself June 28 at Lewis-McChord, leaving behind his two children. His wife, Ashley Joppa-Hagemann, pushed for the Ranger regiment to give him a memorial service in the same manner that it honors soldiers who die in combat.
Her effort to draw attention to his suicide peaked in August, when she confronted former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a book-signing event at the base.
Staff Sgt. Hagemann was a veteran of six combat deployments, four to Afghanistan and two to Iraq. He was buried with military honors in his hometown of Ripon, Calif. on July 15.
“Simply put, Jared was one of our nation’s best,” said Maj. Tony Keller, commander of Company A, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “He signed up to serve his nation and protect his family during a time of war.”
“Remember him for his actions overseas while he defended this great country and remember him as a loving father to his sons,” said Keller said at a ceremony on Lewis-McChord Tuesday.
The Ranger regiment in a press release said Ashley Joppa-Hagemann and the soldier’s parents attended the memorial.
The Ranger battalion returned from Afghanistan last week. It is planning a memorial service for four soldiers who were killed in combat on this deployment.