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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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7/25/2013 2:31:00 PM
Verde Valley soldier killed in Afghanistan
Jonam Russell
Jonam Russell
From the Board of Regents
Statement from the Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein regarding Arizona soldier and ASU Graduate 1st Lt. Jonam Russell:

"On behalf of the Arizona Board of Regents and our public universities, I express our deep sorrow over the tragic death of 1st Lt. Jonam Russell, an Arizona soldier and Arizona State University graduate, who gave his life for the protection of our great country while serving on patrol in Wardak Province in Afghanistan. First Lt. Russell graduated cum laude from ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business in 2011. His dedication to serve and protect his country and his selfless patriotism is a deep reflection on the honor of his character and is a noble example of service for all of our graduates. Lt. Russell, and all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who defend our freedom daily, are deserving of our profound respect. I extend my deepest sympathy and gratitude to First Lt. Russell's family. He is an American hero."

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jonam Russell, 25, whose parents Gilbert and Sophia Russell live in Cornville, was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan on July 23.

Gov. Jan Brewer ordered that flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-staff for Thursday, July 25.

Russell, an Arizona State University ROTC Sun Devil battalion officer, was reportedly on dismounted patrol in the Wardak Province when a suicide bomber on a donkey detonated an improvised explosive device nearby. Three Americans as well as an Afghan translator and the bomber were killed.

The other soldiers were Sgt. Stefan M. Smith, 24 of Glennville, Ga., and Spc. Rob L. Nichols, 24, of Colorado Springs, Colo. According to the Department of Defense, they were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Born Jan. 5, 1988, Russell graduated Cum Laude from Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business in May 2011.

A memorial service is scheduled today, July 26, at 10 a.m., at Old Main on ASU's Tempe campus. The Sun Devil Battalion will broadcast the Fallen Soldier Ceremony live on YouTube. Visit

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Went to the memorial Sat night at riverfront park.Lots of rain but better yet lots of young
folks.Makes one proud to see the respect they
showed to a fallen soldier.
Makes one realize we don't live in a vaccum and bad weather wont stop these youngsters.
Makes you feel Proud to be a American.

Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013
Article comment by: John F. Kennedy

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.

Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013
Article comment by: Graham Robertson

There will be a Candlelight Vigil in honor of 1LT Jonam Russell tonight (Saturday July 27th) at Riverfront Park from 8-10 PM. All are invited to attend.
Please pray for the Russell family.

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Michael Young

God Bless this hero

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Bob O'Brien

My heart goes out to the Russell Family. Prayers are with you.

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

"...Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.

"Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

"You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds...

"The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country...

"This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war." .....
~ General Douglas MacArthur

Thank you, sir.

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Rosey Babcock

My heart goes out to Lt. Russell's parents, may God Bless them. I hope & pray that EVERY soldier KNOWS how much they are HONORED, RESPECTED, & APPRECIATED for their service to our country! I realize that they choose to fight & defend our country, but WE the PEOPLE should ALWAYS stand besided them, worry for their safety, and pray for them daily. God Bless You Lt Russell, and God speed.

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: SD Morningstar

Thank you, my friend so very much

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff Blair

Gilbert and Sophia, I am overwhelmingly saddened over the loss of your son. He is only a few months younger than one of my sons and the loss of a child at any age is an unimaginable tragedy. I salute you and your family but wish so much that you did not have to bear this terrible burden. Please know that the hearts and minds of the people of the Verde Valley are with you at this time of sorrow, and please accept the thanks and gratitude of this former soldier for your very personal sacrifice.

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: Candi & Vinnie Yatsinko

To The Russell Family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all! What a WONDERFUL man Jonam is and he is now at peace with the lord! He will always shine like that sparkle in his eye in the stars at night for you! The Yatsinko Family & VINNIES PIZZERIA!!! Be Strong and HUG YOUR KIDS!

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