Soldier Honored: Jason Defrenn
Hometown: Barnwell, South Carolina
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 2
Born and raised in Barnwell, South Carolina, Jason Defrenn was completing his third tour of duty assigned with the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas when his Apache helicopter was forced to land during combat operations in Tajr, Iraq. An airbase located twelve miles north of Baghdad, Tajr had been the scene of fierce insurgent fighting in the weeks surrounding the February 2, 2007 crash. The al-Qaida affiliated group, Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for shooting down the craft, which exploded in a hail of gunfire, witnesses recounted. Defrenn and one other American serviceman were killed in the attack.
Defrenn’s wife, Jennifer, whom he met back in South Carolina while working at the same restaurant after high school graduation, was just weeks away from delivering the couples’ fourth child when news of Jason’s death reached them. Defrenn had planned to be on a flight home in fourteen days to assist with the birth and also to care for their three other children, Alex, Jessica, and Michael. The severe stress following the tragic news caused Jenny’s body to go into shock and baby Christopher Andrew was delivered twelve days early. Tempted to change the previously agreed upon name to Jason in honor of the father the newborn would never know personally, she decided to honor her husband’s request and leave it as they had decided. After all, it was his turn to pick the name.
Jennifer Defrenn is a Folds of Honor scholarship recipient.