A Soldier's Last Letter From Afghanistan

Army Cpl. Jason Bogar of Seattle, Wash., of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, died July 13, 2008 during a fierce battle in Wanat, Afghanistan that also claimed the lives of eight other soldiers. He was 25. Family Photo

Army General David Petraeus recently ordered a new investigation into a firefight in Wanat, Afghanistan that claimed the lives of nine American soldiers after on July 13, 2008. More than two dozen soldiers were also wounded during the battle.

Cpl. Jason Bogar was among those killed that day.

Jason Bogar was the youngest of Carlene Cross's three children. As an only boy with two older sisters, Carlene says he kept them all on their toes, growing up in Seattle. She described her son as "a great, fun-loving guy." An avid soccer player and artist, he planned on enrolling in art school when he got home from Afghanistan.

Jason originally joined the Washington National Guard following high school. After a tour in Iraq, Jason re-enlisted as active duty Army Infantry. He was on his second tour in Afghanistan when he was killed.

Carlene says her son believed in what he was doing. He was "always reaching out to the people and the children," of Afghanistan. She says he constantly volunteered for any humanitarian missions, and he would often try to connect with the children during his time overseas.

Carlene sent CBS News three entries from a journal that Jason kept, and a last letter home. They were on his computer titled, "Afghanistan OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) VIII '07-'08," and "TO MY FAMILY."

(Click here to read Cpl. Bogar's journal entries and last letter.)

In an entry dated December 15, 2007, Jason wrote that he's in "a little Forward Operating Base called Bella." He's an Assistant Gunner in the weapons squad. He remarks on the size of the mountains surrounding the camp, and laments the extra rounds of ammunition he's carrying around now. "It's not easy humping these mountains," he wrote.

Coming up on the "CBS Evening News":
Afghanistan: The Road Ahead, a 3-part, in-depth examination of the escalating conflict, airing Oct. 5-7, 6:30 p.m. ET. The program will include National Security Correspondent David Martin's report on the battle in Wanat.


CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan

The situation at Bella was dangerous. Jason's unit was in around 10 to 15 firefights, and his platoon sergeant, SPC Matthew R. Kahler, was killed. "He was shot in the head by supposedly allies that were manning one of the Observation Posts," Jason wrote.

In a journal entry dated June 21, 2008, Jason wrote, "Patrols have been slowing down but on the third our Platoon is going to Wanat. It's a little village in-between where I am now and where I was for the first 6 months."

He added that intelligence indicated that the Taliban had built up fighting positions in Wanat and were laying in wait. "I think that we will see some pretty heavy fighting while we are out there."

Jason also wrote in which he wrote about feeling that his "days are numbered," and that "death is all around me."

He wrote that his views and outlook on life seem to be "drastically changing." "Never have I felt as strong as I do about what I am doing here in Afghanistan is the right thing to be doing and is understood and accepted by (sic) god."

He hoped that "one day there will be more Americans knowledgeable on the situation with terrorism in Afghanistan."

"You are the reason I am here, and to give my life for that is nothing to me," he wrote to his family.

At the time he wrote the letter, Jason's sister Carise was pregnant, and the sex of the baby was not yet known.

Jason's last line said, "Carise, let your child know of me and that even though I was never able to see he/she grow I love them more than they could imagine."

Six weeks after Jason was killed, his sister Carise gave birth to a son, Isaac Jason.



By CBS News producer Clifden Kennedy
  • Clifden Kennedy

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