Community gathers to honor heroic pilot

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BARNWELL, S.C. - Chief Warrant Officer Jason G. DeFrenn made a split-second decision as he flew in the skies over Iraq.

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Jenny DeFrenn, the widow of Army Chief Warrant Officer Jason G. DeFrenn, and Garth DeFrenn, his father, are overcome with emotion after being presented flags from the honor guard during the service in Barnwell County.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Jenny DeFrenn, the widow of Army Chief Warrant Officer Jason G. DeFrenn, and Garth DeFrenn, his father, are overcome with emotion after being presented flags from the honor guard during the service in Barnwell County.

What he did that day saved lives, but it cost him his.

On Friday, the small community of Barnwell gathered to mourn the loss of Chief Warrant Officer DeFrenn, but they also came together to celebrate and praise his bravery in service to his country.

"My son was fearless - but he was thoughtful," his father, Garth DeFrenn, said during the service held at First Baptist Church and attended by about 450 people.

"I think all soldiers are like that - fearless and thoughtful. They do something we can't do."

Chief Warrant Officer DeFrenn's AH-64 Apache helicopter was shot down Feb. 2 by Iraqi insurgent ground fire.

Chief Warrant Officer DeFrenn and his copilot, Chief Warrant Officer Keith Yoakum, of Hemet, Calif., who also died, had turned back and engaged the enemy to protect an American flight formation, according to an Army statement.

During the eulogy, Mr. DeFrenn recalled his son's last actions in combat.

"My son did something very remarkable two weeks ago. While in combat, he was fired upon.

"My son decided to come in between the fire," he said. "In those few seconds, my son decided to lay down his life so others could live."

Chief Warrant Officer DeFrenn's legacy as a warrior and as a man will not soon be forgotten in Barnwell. The day he arrived home, Tuesday, at Barnwell Regional Airport, his casket was greeted by an honor guard and about 60 members of his family and the community.

"I couldn't ask for a better homecoming for my son," Mr. DeFrenn said.

He also said his grandchildren, Chief Warrant Officer DeFrenn's four children, will keep their father alive.

His youngest child, Christopher, was born to Jenny DeFrenn on Feb. 6 - four days after Chief Warrant Officer DeFrenn was killed, Mr. DeFrenn said.

"I hope Christopher grows up to be a peacemaker - we all need peace," he said.

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getalife
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getalife 02/17/07 - 09:17 am
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May God bless this family!!

May God bless this family!!

jack
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jack 02/17/07 - 12:19 pm
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God bless this warrioor of

God bless this warrioor of freedom and comfort his family.

Steam
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Steam 02/17/07 - 12:34 pm
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Godspeed Chief DeFrenn. We

Godspeed Chief DeFrenn. We thank and salute you.

teapot
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teapot 02/17/07 - 08:39 pm
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I had the honor of having

I had the honor of having known Jason since his teens. He was an exceptional young man. He always had time for others. His father is a good friend of mine and he summed up Jason well in his remarks. Jason died doing for others. He was, as was stated:
A Warrior Patriot Hero.
Rest in the Lord and be assured that you are loved and missed.

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