State Senate candidate Chuck Pardue's son John Pardue was wounded Friday in an insurgent attack near Kandahar, Afghanistan, that killed a fellow 101st Airborne medic.
Assigned to provide medical assistance to the combat unit, Pfc. John Pardue and Pfc. David Jefferson of Philadelphia were on foot in a remote area near Kandahar when an improvised explosive device went off, mortally wounding Jefferson, Chuck Pardue said.
John Pardue, whose leg was fractured, attempted to administer CPR to Jefferson at the scene but was unable save his friend's life, his father said. The two had been roommates in a training program before being deployed.
It has been a rough six weeks for the 24-member medic platoon assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st. Since being deployed May 14, the medic group has lost five to injury or death.
The group "is part of the surge, but they're probably as far to the front as you can get," Chuck Pardue said.
John Pardue's wife awaits his return in Fort Campbell, Ky., where the 101st is headquartered.
Jefferson, 23, is survived by his wife, Darniece Melton-Jefferson, and 1-year-old son, Ian, of Philadelphia, and his father, James Lyles, of Columbia, S.C.
Pardue learned of his son's injury on Sunday, as he was collecting signatures in Burke County to run as an independent for state Senate District 23.
Pardue, who lives in Blythe, qualified to run but must collect several thousand signatures to get his name on the ballot.
A retired veteran, Pardue has a law practice in Martinez and runs a biofuels business.
His son's injury hasn't dampened his support for the troops, but it has renewed his commitment to U.S. energy independence, he said.
John was able to stay for Jefferson's memorial, and now waits his turn in a safer area to be flown back to the United States for surgery, Pardue said.
"I feel better now because he's coming home, at least for awhile," he said.
Raised in Columbia County, John Pardue attended Lakeside High School. He joined the Army 18 months ago.