Soldier's homecoming a sad one
Army Specialist Jameson Lynn Lindskog deserved better. The tall, physically fit army medic was due home from Afghanistan later this month. His family planned to celebrate his 24th birthday on May 25. He was looking forward to being transferred off active duty and into the Army Reserves next year. Instead, he was gunned down by small arms fire last week 10,000 miles away in Afghanistan's Konar Province along with five other U.S. soldiers he was trying to help. Last Tuesday, I joined others at the Livermore Airport where his mother Donna Walker of Pleasanton and his father Curtis Lindskog of Livermore paid their final respects as other Army troops lifted his flag-draped coffin off a chartered jet. I doubt that there was a dry eye on the tarmac as uniformed men and women from local veterans organizations stood at attention, their own American flags at hand, to give Jameson a somber welcome home.
I go to many welcome home celebrations that the Pleasanton Military Families organization, the local VFW and American Legion and other veterans give for Pleasanton men and women coming back from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are festive events with speeches and refreshments, usually in the soldier's home driveway, with school chums, even cheerleaders, adding to the party. Jameson's homecoming should have been like those.
Like so many in his age group, he had been unable to find a job -- in his case, as a massage therapist after graduating from the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville. So, again like many of his colleagues, he enlisted in the Army in 2008 in hopes that by the time his three-year tour was over, jobs would be more plentiful at home. Because of his therapy training, the Army placed him in an accelerated emergency medical technician program, experience he could use once his service was complete. He had a plan for what he wanted, his father said, and that plan included eventually getting married and having children. And it was as a medic that his life ended as he rushed to aid a fellow soldier who had been hit by enemy fire.
When Jameson completed eighth grade at Pleasanton Middle School, he attended Amador Valley High for his freshman year, but then transferred to Orion Academy in Moraga, a school specializing in teaching children with Asperger's syndrome and other various learning disabilities. His mother said that although her son struggled with dysgraphia, a writing disability, and dyscalculia, a math disability, testing never showed he had the autism-like disorder. In fact, he was consistently on the school's honor roll.
We'll hear more about Jameson's challenges and accomplishments on Saturday, April 30, when Pleasanton and Livermore veterans' organizations hold a special public memorial service for Jameson and his family at the Veterans Memorial Building on Main Street. In the meantime, Donna Walker asks that in lieu of flowers or cards, those who want to make a donation direct it to the local VFW, P.O. Box 601, Pleasanton, CA 94566.