Jari was a Native American Caddo Indian who was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, where she played varsity basketball at Norman High School before enlisting in the US Army. She completed her basic training at Fort Jackson before being assigned to the 82nd Airborne. She deployed to Iraq for 18 months after her service time was complete for active duty. She moved back to Oklahoma and joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard. She then deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months. She volunteered to deploy for a third time to Afghanistan but was severely injured at Fort Bliss during training. She was moved to Fort Hood at the Warrior Transition Unit to complete her medical out processing. When she was told her career was over due to her injuries, she became severely depressed. Once she returned home, she took her own life. She was a mother to two beautiful daughters of her own and a stepmother to three sons. She was an amazing soldier, NCO, mother, wife and leader. She is missed greatly.

Character Strength Story:

BRAVERY- My wife was fearless. Just before her third deployment she volunteered to try and become an infantryman when the Army allowed women to be combat soldiers. She wanted to show her troops that women could be infantry and deploy with an infantry company and lead soldiers in combat. She would have been the first woman in the Oklahoma Army National Guard to be a combat veteran with a Combat Infantry Badge. She would have also been the first female warrior in her tribe. During her first attempt, she nearly made it completely through the army infantry course but was unable to throw the hand grenade 90 feet, missing the mark by only two feet. She was planning on returning to the school after her deployment, but ended her life.

My wife wanted to show her daughters that no matter the task or job, you had to give your very best and accept nothing less from yourself. She made it a point to not care what anyone said about her. She was extremely confident in everything she did in the Army that at times she was told to stand down due to her rank not being high enough to make decisions like she did. She was bold and did not care what she had to do to get the job done.

LEADERSHIP My wife led her Soldiers by example in every facet of her job and she was loved and respected so much by her soldiers. One of them would end up naming her daughter after my wife as a true sign of love and loyalty to my wife's legacy as a NCO.

—Submitted by Aaron, Surviving Husband


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