June 15, 2009 - The third Palauan national has died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Twenty-six year old U.S. Army Sergeant Jasper Obakrairur of Ngardmau, Palau, died on June 1, on his second tour to Afghanistan. According to the Department of Defense, Sgt. Obakrairur died from wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device which detonated near his vehicle in Nerkh, Afghanistan. He first joined the military from Hilo, Hawaii after studying at the University of Hawaii. He had been assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum, New York since August 2004. His first tour to Afghanistan was from January 2006 to May 2007.
As reported in the Hudson Valley Press Online, New York Governor David A. Paterson directed the flags on all New York State government buildings to be flown at half-staff on Monday, June 15, 2009, to honor Sgt. Jasper Obakrairur, the Fort Drum-based Soldier who died on June 1, 2009, in Nerkh, Afghanistan.
“On behalf of the people of New York, I extend our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. Obakrairur and the soldiers who served with him,” Governor Paterson said. “We regret his death, but we honor his service. Although he was born thousands of miles away from New York, we consider him, and all Fort Drum Soldiers, New Yorkers. We will forever remember his brave service to our nation.” In honor of New York State soldiers who are killed in action or die overseas, Governor Paterson has directed the flags on all State buildings to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to their heroic sacrifice.
U.S. Army Sgt. Jasper Obakrairur will be buried in the Republic of Palau on June 16, 2009. The Army National Guard of Guam has sent 15 members of its Military Funeral Honors team to Palau to render full military honors.
According to the Guam Pacific Daily News, Sgt. Obakrairur has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge. He also was a graduate of the Combat Life Savers Course and Warrior Leader Course, among others. Sgt. Obakrairur is survived by his parents and a sister who live in Palau.
Sgt. Obakrairur is the 34th from the Micronesia region to have died since the beginning of the War on Terror. Click here to see all known deaths from the Insular Areas.
The Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs remembers and honors the men and women of the insular areas who offer up the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terror. The Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs also recognizes all Islanders who have served and currently serve in the United States Armed Forces.