Tragic homecoming: Marine’s body to come home to Lehigh
A police escort will accompany the body of Marine brought home to Lehigh Acres this week.
Sgt. Jason G. Amores , 29, was killed in Afghanistan Thursday, Jan. 20, when he stepped on an explosive device in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
He was serving in the Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The State Department said he was killed while conducting combat operations. It was his third deployment in Afghanistan and he had been deployed to Iraq twice before.
In the late ’90s while he was in Lehigh Senior High School, Amores was affectionately called “Mowgli.” He played the saxophone and was an active member of the Lehigh Senior High School’s Marching Band.
On Saturday, Amores’ family, his wife, Jennifer, his parents, Beverly and Curtis Middleton and his brother, Jeremiah, and other family members were waiting for a 3 p.m. flight to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware from Afghanistan.
His father, Curtis, was the first editor of The Lehigh Acres Citizen, a Breeze Newspapers publication, and later was publisher of the old Lehigh Acres News Star. Sometime after he left The Star, he moved away from Lehigh.
Today, the Marine’s parents live in Olive Branch, Miss., where Middleton has retired, and is writing a book.
Reached Saturday afternoon just minutes before the flight arrived, Middleton said that the family was very upset, as expected, but that they were proud of their son who had served his country so valiantly.
Amore’s wife, Jennifer, and their two children had been making their home at Camp Pendleton, Calif., while her husband was in combat in Afghanistan. She is from the Lehigh Acres area.
His brother, Jeremiah, was also in Dover Saturday for the arrival of his brother’s body. Jeremiah and Jason has joined the U.S. Marine Corps on the same day in 2004, and had gone through basic training and advanced training together. The two brothers were very close. Jason graduated from Lehigh Senior High School in 1999.
Jeremiah left the Marine Corps and moved to Ohio, while his brother decided to re-up for more service to his country.
Middleton said that both he and his wife, and his son’s wife in California, all received the terrible news at the same time.
“Two Marine cars pulled up in front of our house in Mississippi. I saw them and knew the news was bad,” Middleton said. At about the very same moment, the same thing was happening at Jennifer’s house at Camp Pendleton.
“That’s the way they do it apparently, informing the parents and the spouses at the same time even though they may live in different parts of the country,” Middleton said.
Jason and Jennifer have two children, a son, Corbin, 9 and a daughter, Violet, 4.
“All the family is here in Dover,” Middleton said.
“We have been told that when the flight lands, the caskets draped with the American flag will be brought off the cargo plane and that there would be a ceremony for the families and friends who went to Dover to be there when their loved one’s remains arrived.
Then Middleton said the bodies are taken to a mortuary on the Air Force Base for the individual families.
Middleton said it was a very difficult for everyone in the family. Also at Dover were Jason’s two sisters Rebecca, 21, and Samantha, 19.
“My wife, Beverly, has been crying ever since we got the news last Thursday afternoon. It’s just very hard on her as it is with the other members of the family,” Middleton said.
Sgt. Jason Amores’ remains were to be brought to Lehigh this week, with a police escort,” Middleton said he was told.
Middleton said over the weekend that there would be services for his son at Lee Memorial Park on SR82, but he was not sure of the time.
“I’m doing OK,” Middleton said. “But my wife and Jason’s wife, and his brother and sisters are having a rough time,” Middleton said.
“Our memories will always remain of just how proud of Jason we were of his serving his nation. We are very proud of him,” Middleton said.