Sunday, September 6, 2009

Staff Sgt. returns home

Hundreds honor Jacksonville soldier killed in Afghanistan
The graduate of Mandarin High was killed in Afghanistan.

By Adam Aasen
The Florida Times-Union

Staff Sgt. Jason Sean Dahlke was a warrior who was never afraid of anything.

Dahlke went on six deployments for the Army during wartime - three in Iraq and three in Afghanistan - and earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Friends and family said he never shied away from anything difficult. Whether in the Army or enjoying outdoor activities like scuba diving or mountain biking, he took on every challenge.

"We thought he was invincible," said his wife, Nikole. "We all thought that.

"He lived his life like he could die tomorrow."

Hundreds of friends, family and soldiers gathered Saturday at Jacksonville Naval Air Station to pay tribute to a man who died while serving his country in Afghanistan. Dahlke, 29, was killed by enemy gunfire on Aug. 28 in the vicinity of the Paktika province.

Dahlke attended Mandarin High School and the University of Central Florida. After graduation, he enlisted in the Army in 2004 and became a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment in 2005. He served as a rifleman, grenadier, machine gunner, fire-team leader, section leader and squad leader.

Dahlke leaves behind his wife, Nikole; father, Roger Dahlke; mother, Deborah DeLaney; stepmother, Tessa Dahlke; and sisters Talia Dahlke, Taryn Funcheon, Donielle Graham and Kelsea Evans.

The full story can be found here.

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