JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Navy Medicine Training Support Center Sailors hosted a commemoration ceremony honoring Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jaime S. Jaenke at Jaenke Hall at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston June 2.
Jaenke was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa, where she later joined the Navy Reserves in 2002. In January of 2006, she was activated and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as a convoy security lead corpsman for her unit. On June 5, 2006, after less than three months into her deployment, she was killed when her Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device in the Al Anbar Province.
“As we reflect today on the 16th anniversary of HM2 Jaenke’s death, never forget the family and friends she left behind or the selfless sacrifice she gave to defend our country,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Adekunle Adeyemo, a hospital corpsman instructor with the Behavioral Health Technician program at the Medical Education and Training Campus, or METC, and master of ceremonies for the event.
Staff members and students gathered at the Navy’s student barracks, a building dedicated to Jaenke on April 19, 2011, to celebrate her life and honor the sacrifices she made in service of the nation.
“Thank you all for coming today to honor the memory of one of our school’s alumni, a name we all say probably five times a day,” said Capt. Ann Case, NMTSC commanding officer. “Her story of wanting a better life and joining the Navy to secure a future, plan for college, or care for a family, is one that is bits and pieces of why any one of us wants to join the Navy.
"For HM2 Jaenke, she was on her way to achieving what she needed to do in order to ensure her own family was taken care of.
President Bush once said, 'It is not our nature to seek out wars and conflicts. But whenever they have come, when adversaries have left us no alternative, American men and women have stood ready to take the risks and pay the ultimate price.'
“I’ll close today with a quote that always comes to mind in times like these,” Case said. “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each military member who died protecting it.”
“I encourage you to look at the building behind me, read the plaques and inscriptions that are in those halls and remind yourself what service to our nation looks like,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Geraldine Kirk, guest speaker for the event. “HM2 Jaenke chose to serve our country. As a nationally-registered emergency medicine technician who was working toward her nursing degree, she chose to join the United States Navy and as an activated Reservist, chose to deploy with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25.
"Just 29 years old… she chose to be in harm’s way because it was what she believed in," Kirk added. "And on June 5, 2006, HM2(SCW) Jaime Suzanne Jaenke was killed in action because she chose to be on that convoy. I’d like to leave you with the words and feelings that have echoed through our hearts and minds every time one of us has lost a brother or sister in arms. These are the lyrics to the song, ‘Ballad of Jaime,’ off an album called, ‘Forever 29,’ by Jeff Hauswirth. He is a former Navy corpsman who titled the album for her, as he said, she will be forever 29. ‘Lost your life to an IED, all I wanted was your happiness and smile, loved being with you but it was your time. Angel above watching over me, you had the spirit that set you free. Angel watching over me, Jaime.’”
The ceremony continued and concluded with the presentation of the final roll call, playing of taps, and benediction led by NMTSC’s command chaplain.
NMTSC is the Navy component command providing administrative and operational control over Navy staff and students assigned to the Medical Education and Training Campus and other medical programs in the San Antonio area.