Army Private Jonathan R. Pfender, 22, Evansville, Indiana.

    Killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) during a patrol in Beiji. A 2001 graduate of North Posey Hill High School, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. Killed 30 Dec 2005.
    Pfender showed interest in military service as early as the seventh grade. But it wasn't until this year that he got serious enough to sign the dotted line.
    "I asked him about the National Guard or Reserves, and he said I'm going all out," his mother, Peggy Jo Hammond said. "I'm going in the Army ... I want to go to Iraq."
    Pfender got to spend 10 days at home before his deployment on Sept. 16. His relatives last saw him the day before he left.
    Hammond said she tried to be strong emotionally in their telephone conversations, including the one in October when Jonathan told her a bomb had exploded near his vehicle. Their last talk came on Christmas Day.
    "I got a half-hour," Hammond said. "It was the longest I ever got to talk to him."
    She ended the conversation the same way she always told her son good night, since he was little: "Night night, sweet dreams, I love you."
    But instead of the normal "see you in the morning," Hammond's phone conversations to Iraq concluded with "see you in June." That was when Pfender was to come home for two weeks.




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