Fallen Soldier: James W. Ponder

James W. Ponder
Dates: Died June 28, 2005
Hometown: Franklin, TN
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Master Sergeant
Player: Lynn Lim

Master Sergeant James W. Ponder III, 36, of Franklin, Tenn., was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Ky., and served during Operation Enduring Freedom. On June 28, 2005, MSG Ponder was killed when his MH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan.

After graduation from Basic Training, MSG Ponder was assigned to Korea, becoming a member of the special operations unit known as the Night Stalkers in 1992.

MSgt. Ponder was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal with Valor device and the Combat Action Badge.

“He was my best friend,” MSG Ponder’s daughter said. “I was six years old when he passed. At the time, I did not understand that my best friend was not coming home. Over the years, I’ve been told that I am a lot like him. He was quiet but never ceased to make anyone laugh. Today, I remember my dad with a smile.”

One of MSG Ponder’s daughters is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.