Army Staff Sgt. Jamie D. Jarboe

Died March 21, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

27, of Frankfort, Ind.; assigned to 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died March 21 in Topeka, Kan., from wounds suffered on April 10, 2011, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

Wounded Topeka soldier dies of injuries

The Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Fort Riley soldier who endured more than 100 surgeries after a sniper’s bullet in Afghanistan left him mostly paralyzed has died in Topeka, less than five weeks after a crowd of airport well-wishers saluted his return to the city and his wife and family.

Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home in Topeka confirmed that 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Jamie Jarboe died Wednesday of his injuries.

The death was announced on Facebook shortly after his wife, Melissa, wrote that he had been placed in a hospice setting a week ago, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Thousands of people have followed the Facebook chronicle of the family’s travails and hopes over the past 11 months, and hundreds left messages there Wednesday afternoon.

A native of Frankfort, Ind., Jamie Jarboe was assigned to 4th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley. The unit is known as the Pale Riders.

He deployed to Afghanistan in February 2011 and was shot April 10 while on foot patrol in the Zhari district. The bullet, from a sniper’s AK47 rifle, penetrated his spine and left him paralyzed from the chest down.

In the following 10 months he underwent more than 100 operations, first at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., then at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore before he was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Denver.

Melissa Jarboe, a native of the northeastern Kansas town of Holton, spent as much time as possible with him during those months while their two daughters remained in Topeka to attend school.

On Feb. 17 — three days after the couple’s first wedding anniversary — dozens of members of the American Legion and Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention as a private medical plane touched down at Topeka’s Philip Billard Memorial Airport.

Melissa Jarboe and the couple’s daughters, Celestial and Alexa, were on the tarmac as Jarboe was moved onto a stretcher and placed in an ambulance for a ride to a Topeka rehab facility, escorted by Patriot Guard motorcyclists. Jarboe was unable to fully return the salutes of those who gave him a hero’s welcome, but he could lift a hand and wave briefly.

The turnout that day was especially gratifying for Melissa Jarboe.

There were times, she said, that her husband believed that “some people forget — some people don’t care about the soldiers. I tell him, ‘I beg to differ,'” she told The Capital-Journal that day. “Today it really shows how strong the support is for him here in Topeka, Kan.”

Leave a Reply