Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is NavyPetty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis.
Navy Petty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis, 30
Died September 5, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
BROOKFIELD — Jason Dale Lewis was just 4 years old when the Rev. Mark Cernero first knew him.
In those days, Lewis would come with his family to Cernero’s church, the Assembly of God, in South Attleboro, Mass.
“He was a happy, energetic young boy,” Cernero said. “He was a delightful fellow.”
On Monday, Cernero joined family friends in mourning Lewis’ death.
Lewis, 30, a Petty Officer First Class in the elite U.S. Navy SEAL unit, was killed Friday when a homemade explosive device blew up beneath his Humvee in Baghdad.
“He grew up to be an outstanding young man and a real patriot,” Cernero said. “I am very saddened by his departure. How do you replace people like that?”
Cernero anticipates taking part in Lewis’ funeral service Saturday at First Assembly of God Church in Brookfield, where he is associate pastor.
After the service, scheduled for 11 a.m., Lewis will be buried in Center Cemetery, New Milford, with full military honors.
On Monday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who ordered all state and U.S. flags to be lowered to half staff, described Lewis as “a great American.”
“He is a hero, not just to us in Brookfield, but to our entire state and our entire country,” Rell said in a statement. “His sacrifice on behalf of all of us will never be forgotten.”
Rell urged all residents to recognize “the courage, bravery and dedication” Lewis displayed throughout his Navy career, and added: “Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Officer Lewis’ family and friends.”
A spokesman for Rell said Monday it was not yet known whether the governor, who lives in Brookfield, will attend the funeral.
According to the Department of Defense, Lewis, who lived in Brookfield for most his life, died during combat operations.
Two other sailors, Steven P. Daugherty, 28, of Barstow, Calif., and Robert R. McRill, 42, of Lake Place, Fla., died with him.
“These sailors embodied the Navy core values of honor, courage, and commitment time and again in training and on the battlefield,” said Capt. Chaz Heron, the men’s commander. “They had a combined 34 years of dedicated service to our country. The Naval Special Warfare family will miss them and will ensure they are never forgotten.”
Lewis lived in Virginia Beach, Va., was married to former Brookfield resident Donna (Tyransky) Lewis, and had three young children, Jack, Max, and Grace.
“He was a wonderful man and he loved his children very much,” Donna Lewis said in a brief telephone interview Sunday.
The couple were married in Brookfield in 2002. Donna Lewis is a graduate of Brookfield High School and the University of Connecticut at Storrs and has a master’s degree in speech language pathology.
First Selectman Jerry Murphy called Donna Lewis on Monday to convey condolences from the town, and to offer the family any help they might need.
“Your heart just goes out to the wife and three children,” Murphy said. “I know from my time in the Navy that the Navy family is a tight family, but the SEAL family is even more so.”
Jason Lewis, who was born in Danbury, attended Brookfield High School but graduated from Murdock High School in Winchendon, Mass., and went to the University of Maryland.
Lewis enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1996 and after completing advanced SEAL training courses was assigned to a West Coast-based SEAL team in October 1997.
The SEAL unit, which is the Navy’s counterpart to the Army’s Green Berets, is regarded as one of the world’s finest commando and special operations units. SEAL is an acronym for Sea, Air, Land.
In 2004, Lewis reported to the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif., and in January of this year he was transferred to an East Coast SEAL team.
Lewis’ military awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Corps’ Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Lewis became the 40th active-duty service member with Connecticut ties, and the second from Brookfield, to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
In March 2005, 21-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. John T. Schmidt III died from injuries sustained in a firefight near Fallujah.
Although Lewis’ family declined to be interviewed Monday, an obituary notice they prepared for publication today noted that Lewis enjoyed fly-fishing, rock climbing, cycling, and all outdoor activities.
The notice concluded, “He was a devoted father who loved spending time with his family.”
Birth: Jun. 30, 1977, Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Death: Jul. 6, 2007, Iraq
Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis of Brookfield, Connecticut died July 6 as a result of enemy action while conducting combat operations in the vicinity of Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team. He is the beloved husband of Donna (Tyransky) Lewis, died of injuries sustained in combat. He was born in Danbury on June 30, 1977, cherished son of Jean Mariano of New Milford and Dale Lewis. He was a devoted father who loved spending time with his family. In addition to his parents and his wife, Donna, Jason will be sadly missed by his three children: Jack, Max and Grace; his maternal grandparents, Joseph and Frances Mariano of Brookfield; his sister, Jennie Schell and her husband, Kenneth, of New Milford; his mother and father-in-law, Jack and Doris Tyransky, of Brookfield; his sister-in-law, Kerri Eannarino and her husband, Brett, of Brookfield. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins
Sen. Christopher S. Murphy
Party D State CT
Madam speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of Jason Dale Lewis, who was killed in combat just over a year ago on July 6, 2007, in Baghdad. Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis called Brookfield, Connecticut, his home, along with his wife Donna and their three children.
Just 30 years old, Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis was a uniquely skilled member of an elite Navy SEAL unit. Highly decorated, he earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy “E” ribbon, two Good Conduct Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service ribbon, the Expert Rifleman Medal, and the Expert Pistol Shot Medal. Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis was truly an elite among elites.
A year has passed since Jason left us. But the example he set, for his family, for his community, and for his Nation, will last forever. Our society is beset by those who live lives defined by unmet, wasted potential. That wasn’t a problem for Jason. He knew how great he could be, as a man, as a father, and as a SEAL. And in 30 short years, he achieved that greatness.
As Americans, we hold dear the values of honor, courage and commitment. Petty Officer 1st Class Lewis embodied those characteristics on and off the battlefield. His valor in defense of his country and his unceasing love for his community and family lend credence to the notion that the fullest lives are those lived for the greater good.