|Obituary in The Oregonian oregonlive.com
Askew, Jaynie 43 4/14/1966 4/21/2009 Jaynie Askew, stationed at Fort Sam Houston and a resident of San Antonio, died on April 21, 2009. She was 43 years of age. Jaynie was born April 14, 1966, in Eugene, and was the daughter of Wayne and Sandy Askew. At the young age of 8, Jaynie moved with her family to Bullhead City, Ariz., where she graduated from high school in 1984. Jaynie returned to Oregon, resided in Portland, and attended the Western Culinary Institute. She earned her associate of arts degree and went on to excel with her passion for cooking. Jaynie was self-employed for many years. She owned and operated Executive Polish in downtown Portland for nearly 15 years. She later worked as the assistant manager at the Nordstrom Restaurant in Portland and transferred to Scottsdale, Ariz., where she continued her employment with Nordstrom. On Oct. 25, 2006, Jaynie enlisted in the U.S. Army. She was stationed at Fort Sam Houston and honorably served her country as a private first class. Jaynie loved life and many of the pleasures that came with it. She was a girl of action who enjoyed Harley motorcycles, shooting, cooking, and spending time with her two boys. She loved being a mom and simply adored the time she spent with her children. She was a member of SouthLake Foursquare Church in Lake Oswego. Jaynie is survived by her parents, Wayne and Sandy
of Camas, Wash.; sons, Dayne of Camas and Chase of Lake Oswego; and brother, Chad
of Canby. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2009, in Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home. Jaynie will be laid to rest in Lincoln Memorial Park. Contributions may be made to the Union Gospel Mission.
|From My SA San Antonio mysanantonio.com
Soldier found dead failed last chance to become medic
By Sig Christenson - Express-News
Pfc. Jaynie May Askew had one last chance to pass a test that all soldiers in combat medic training are given at Fort Sam Houston.
Ace it, and you're on your way to being a medic.
Fail it, and you're out.
“She texted us yesterday at 11:04 (a.m.) and said, ‘For the record, I didn't pass the test. God is still on the throne,'” her mother, Sandra Askew, said Wednesday. “God has things under control. He knows better than we did why things happen.”
Six hours and 41 minutes after sending that message, Askew, 43, of Scottsdale, Ariz., apparently raised a .45-caliber handgun to her head and fired. The shot echoed through the 32nd Medical Brigade training barracks, prompting two soldiers to investigate.
They entered the barracks bay and saw Askew facedown on a bed, an “apparent suicide note” at her side and a handgun at the scene, post spokesman Phil Reidinger said.
Described by her mother as a woman who was “all heart” and “gave it her all,” Askew became one of at least 57 U.S. soldiers worldwide thought to have committed suicide this year. So far, 22 cases have been confirmed as suicides, the Army said, with 35 pending the outcome of investigations, including Askew's case.
There is a growing concern within the Pentagon about the problem. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week at Fort Sam that the Army is on track to break last year's record suicide mark — 143. The service has been keeping such records since 1980.
A probe by the Army's criminal investigation division into Askew's death continues, and no official ruling has been issued by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Authorities were providing few details and would not disclose the contents of the note, but Sandra Askew said her daughter had pressured herself to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians test.
She had taken it twice before and failed. Active-duty soldiers flunking it a third time are removed from combat medic training at Fort Sam and given a new job specialty. Askew faced a return to her Arizona National Guard unit, which had sent her to Fort Sam to become a combat medic.
“We know that she was under a lot of stress, and that she had put a lot of pressure on herself about this test,” her mother said.
The elder Askew said her daughter came to the Army after losing custody of her children, Dayne and Chase. Sandra Askew said her daughter divorced in the late 1990s and years later lost custody after an incident when one of the children was spanked. She said a visitation battle continued, with Askew rarely getting to see the children.
The Army was a chance to make things right. After working as an assistant manager of a Nordstrom's bistro in Lake Oswego, Ore., near Portland, she walked away from civilian life and entered basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. At 41, she was among the Army's oldest recruits.
“She had to have a purpose,” Sandra Askew said, recalling a conversation in which her daughter said, “‘If I can't see my kids, I'll serve my country.'”
Jaynie Askew initially enlisted in the Oregon National Guard and joined the Arizona National Guard's 856th Military Police Company at Camp Navajo outside Flagstaff in March 2008. She came to the Alamo City in January and spent two months here preparing to take the EMT test, which is required for students to enter advanced combat medic training.
For Sandra Askew, the first hint that something terrible had gone wrong came early Wednesday, when a pair of casualty assistance officers came to the Askew home in Camas, Wash., just across the river from Portland.
Sandra Askew recalled high school classmates of her daughter in Bullhead City, Ariz., near the California, Nevada and Arizona borders, voting her “the funniest girl in class.”
She also was generous with her support and time, her mother said. Sandra Askew said her daughter came to the aid of one GI in a medic course who had joined the Army to help her family through tough financial times.
“She was overweight and almost got let go. Our daughter helped her put the right combination of food together and helped her exercise so she could lose weight and stay in medics,” Sandra Askew said. “If you were to interview (soldiers in) her barracks, she was always encouraging everybody else, and nobody could believe how cheerful she was.”