Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Jason Garth DeFrenn reported killed in Iraq

BAMBERG – U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Jason DeFrenn was expected to arrive in Bamberg in a couple of weeks to be with his wife, the former Jenny Still of Bamberg, for the birth of the couple’s second child. But on Friday, DeFrenn was killed in Iraq when the helicopter he was piloting was shot down by enemy fire.

After learning of her husband’s death, Mrs. DeFrenn was taken to Palmetto Baptist in Columbia where doctors worked to induce labor. At approximately 2:35 p.m. Tuesday, Christopher Andrew DeFrenn was born, weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

The father he will never know, Jason DeFrenn, died when his Apache helicopter crashed near an island in the Tigris River and burst into flames.

According to Julie Pate Ulmer of Bamberg, a cousin of Jenny DeFrenn, the nine-year Army veteran was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, before being deployed to Iraq about five and a half months ago. It was DeFrenn’s second tour of duty in Iraq. He had been flying military helicopters for approximately five years.

Originally from Barnwell, DeFrenn attended the Barnwell public school system through 1989. His wife is a 1997 graduate of Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. Ulmer said the two met about 10 years ago when DeFrenn managed the Bamberg Pizza Hut where Jenny DeFrenn was also employed. They were married in 1999.

Jenny DeFrenn has been residing in Bamberg with her parents, Tony and Judy Still, ever since her husband’s recent deployment.

The couple had one son together, Michael, who will turn five years old today, one day after his new brother was born. Mrs. DeFrenn’s parents’ home had been decorated for a party the family had planned to have for Michael on Saturday. However, the birthday party was postponed after his mother became ill. Upon learning of her husband’s death, Jenny DeFrenn was taken to Palmetto Baptist.

Family members describe CW2 Jason DeFrenn as someone who loved the military and his family. They said he was “very smart, family oriented, kind and thoughtful.”

DeFrenn had also served tours of duty in Hawaii and Germany. In addition to sons Michael and Christopher, DeFrenn had two other children from previous relationships.

From the Times and Democrat