Claremore soldier killed in Afghanistan 'had music in his heart'
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
9/18/12 at 7:20 AM
The mother of a Claremore soldier who died in Afghanistan this weekend said her son had a love of music, God and his family.
Jon Townsend, 19, was eager to serve his country and left for the military just days after he graduated from Sequoyah High School in Clare-more in 2011, said his mother, Karen Nelson.
"He thought it was an honor," she said. "He was so proud to serve his country."
The Department of Defense has not yet released information about the circumstances surrounding his death.
Nelson said her son was stationed at a base in Washington, and his Facebook page says he was an Army infantryman based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash.
Nelson said her son was friendly and outgoing, always willing to share his music and his faith with others.
He "had music in his heart and soul," Nelson said. "He was very God- and church-oriented. He loved sharing with other kids about God, about music."
He had wanted to join the military or law enforcement for years, Nelson said. He signed up early, with his mother's signature and approval, and left for basic training soon after he graduated in 2011.
It was that same spring that he met his future wife and fell in love, Nelson said. He and Brittany Taylor Townsend were married when he was on leave this spring and spent only a few days together before he returned to Afghanistan, Nelson said.
Her son was affectionate, telling his family often that he loved them.
"Before he was killed, he called me almost every day until Thursday," Nelson said. "He was a young man (who) wasn't afraid to say, 'I love you,' or hug you. He never, ever failed when he walked out that door to say, 'I love you.' He was so full of life and energy."
Sequoyah High School Principal Steve Johnson said Townsend was well liked at the school.
Johnson described him as a "good kid" and "good student."
"He was a 'yes, sir,' 'no, sir,' kind of kid, anyway, so I'm sure he was a good soldier."
Johnson said Townsend was determined and excited to serve his country.
"Jon made up his mind that he was going to go to the service, so he spent all year getting ready," the principal said. "He really believed in the cause and wanted to be a soldier."
Many people at the school and in the community knew Townsend, and his death comes as a shock.
"This kind of stuff always happens somewhere else," Johnson said. "It hits close to home when it's one of your own."
Nelson said she will meet her son's body at Dover Air Force Base when it is returned to the United States this week.
Although her faith gives her comfort, it's still difficult to say goodbye to her son, she said.
"He's my baby," Nelson said. "I will miss him."
Original Print Headline: Claremore soldier had 'music in his heart'
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Jon Townsend: He enlisted in the Army early and left for basic training soon after graduating from high school.