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May 09 2008

Jim Lockard, 1961-2008

Posted by Dale @ 8:18 pm in Deployment,Outside the Wire

One week ago today, on 2 May 2008, MAJ Rick Biddle walked over from the Operations trailer and told me that SET 8 had been hit by an IED. SET 8 is based out of COB Speicher in Tikrit. The team had taken some USACE personnel on a project site visit along the Bayji to Baghdad Pipeline Exclusion Zone north of Tikrit. Among the personnel was Jim Lockard, a Project Manager working at GRN. At approximately 1000, Jim’s vehicle was hit by an IED and came under small arms fire from insurgents. The Aegis SET repelled the attack, pushed the insurgents back, evacuated the USACE personnel, and returned to COB Speicher. Jim died at the CSH as a result of his injuries sustained from the IED blast.

When I arrived in Mosul in August 2007, Jim was the Project Manager for the GRN healthcare clinics. For a couple of months, I spoke with him every Sunday during the weekly healthcare clinic conference call. I finally had the pleasure of meeting Jim in October 2007 when I went to COB Speicher for the Engineer Conference. I immediately liked Jim as everyone did when they met him.

On Wednesday, I traveled to COB Speicher for a memorial ceremony in honor of Jim. COL Pfenning spoke of his admiration and respect for Jim. Several other of Jim’s colleagues also gave remarks during the ceremony. They each consistently mentioned his love for his wife Maria and his two teenage daughters Danielle and Nicole. They also shared stories of his sense of humor. One of the speakers shared Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. In this passage, the Preacher says:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I reflected on those words of Solomon as the bugler played Taps at the end of the ceremony. I along with everyone else that had the pleasure of knowing him will miss Jim dearly. Each night my kids pray for the safety of everyone deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world. They mention me by name as well as others we know that are deployed. In Mosul, we will continue to honor Jim’s sacrifice every time we go outside the wire.

Rest in Peace, Jim Lockard.

6 Responses to “Jim Lockard, 1961-2008”

  1. maria Lockard says:

    To my beautiful husband a true patriot and hero to us all. Let us never forget his determination to make a better Iraq. He will on forever in our hearts and our memory. We loved him so and am forever grateful to have shared my life with him , a true blessing and gift from God! I Love you sweetheart and I miss you terribly but will take care of our girls who will carry on you legacy in your honor. I remember when you said to me ” Please make me the happiest man by being me wife” well, there was never any question because I knew you were my soul mate.
    Te Amo Mi Amor,
    Maria Lockard

  2. Barbara Bowers, MD says:

    We only knew Jim for 6 years, but felt like we knew him a lifetime! Such a wonderful, kind, generous human being! In addition to all our memories, we have our play-yard in the back yard that reminds of him and his kindness and generosity every day of our lives!!! We loved him very much and love Maria , Danielle, and Nicole also! Barb & Dave

  3. from Hugo ("papi") Velasco says:

    Dear Jim:
    Last time we shaked hands muttering “we’ll see you when coming back from the middle east” you said :papi,take care of my girls.I took that as temporary assignment,never suspecting what our God had planned for us.Now that you are in His Kingdom please ask from Him to give me the wisdom and the talent to fulfill your wish.You know I never will be able to take your place but help me to do my best.
    I love you and I always will keep you in my heart.

  4. Milton W. Palenque says:

    Dear Jim:
    Although I knew you only briefly, my heart shattered as I heard news about your passing in Iraq on May 2, 2008. This sadness was infinately more difficult to cope with than any feeling I ever experienced when thinking of war’s toll.

    For all our countrymen and women in harms way in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, I wish you peace and safety.

    Jim, you are the loving soul mate of my dear cousin Maria, and the father of Danielle and Nicole. I read the touching note Maria wrote you on this forum. I hope that she and your beautiful daughters as well as the rest of your family will recover from this trmendous loss.

    My parents, sisters and I have been close to Maria, her siblings and parents for many years albeit from afar. As we grew into adulthood, married, and had children, we always maintained a close family affection we had as children. Maria has always been a cheerful and affectionate cousin, reminding me so much of my sisters.

    I know Maria’s love for you and your daughters will sustain your memory for generations to come. I personally want to thank you and tell you of my admiration for your courage. Please know from your vantage point in Heaven that we here in the physical world will never forget you and your impact on the many lives you touched.

    With deepest sincerity:
    Milton W. Palenque

  5. steven says:

    I will truly miss you. I will remember all the good times we had and all the patience that you had. I know that when Maria and I are together that you will be there watching over us, shaking your head and smiling. I can’t wait for the day we meet again. I want you to know I love your girls and will always look out for them.

    Love you guy

  6. Deb and Daran Janecek says:

    Dear Jim,

    We had the honor of knowing you since we moved to Paducah,Kentucky in 1996. We definitely will remember those crazy parties!!! You are a wonderful and courageous person that will live forever in our hearts.

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