Many in Pleasanton turned out last Saturday to dedicate a memorial garden honoring a Pleasanton soldier killed in Afghanistan two years ago.
Chief James Miguel of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department led the morning ceremony outside the department's headquarters at 3560 Nevada St., just a few feet from the garden that includes a plaque with an image of U.S. Army Specialist Jameson Lindskog.
His mother Donna Walker, who lives nearby, chose the area because the fire department provides emergency assistance to local residents which Spc. Lindskog was also trained to do as a medic. Her son, a combat medic, was killed by enemy fire while providing first aid to other troops in his squadron during a firefight in Afghanistan two years ago, on March 29, 2011.
Mayor Jerry Thorne also paid tribute to Spc. Lindskog, joined by other elected officials, including Vice Mayor Cheryl Cook-Kallio, City Council members Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin, State Senator Ellen Corbett, Police Chief Dave Spiller and members of the local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion and the VFW Color Guard.
Walker and her husband Matt and others from Spc. Lindskog's family also were honored at the ceremony, attended by about 60 from the Tri-Valley.
Born in 1987, Spc. Lindskog would have turned 24 years old on May 24, 2011, and was scheduled to be deployed back to the U.S. in a few weeks and to go off active duty the following year. He was last home right after the Christmas holidays, leaving to report back to his unit in Afghanistan that January.
He attended Pleasanton Middle School and his freshman year at Amador Valley High School. In 2003, he transferred to Orion Academy near Moraga, where he graduated in 2005. From there, he enrolled in the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville where he became a licensed massage therapist. He enlisted in the Army and was a medical technician assigned to the 101st Airborne unit out of Fort Campbell, Ky., at the time of his death.
He received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
Spc. Lindskog was killed when enemy forces attacked his unit in Afghanistan's Konar Province. He was one of six "Screaming Eagle" soldiers killed by small arms fire that day, all of whom were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
For his heroism, he also was awarded the Silver Star. In making that presentation, the Army said in a report provided to Donna Walker that Spc. Lindskog "distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as a Platoon Medic." According to the report, her son was serving as the assigned medic as his third platoon maneuvered in an enemy clearance operation when it was ambushed from multiple directions and was pinned down. During the initial contact, there were three casualties.
Spc. Lindskog, at great personal risk and with heavy enemy fire overhead, bounded to the wounded soldiers, reached the ambushed men and began first aid treatment. As he started, he was struck just under the left arm by an enemy round that lodged in his chest. Slumped to his side, and even though he was mortally wounded, he continued to instruct his fellow soldiers on how to treat his wounds and give care to others until he died.
Donna Walker said she has exchanged emails and phone calls with a number of the surviving members of her son's unit and with the parents of the other five soldiers killed alongside her son. These communications have given her more information about his work as a medic and the many friends he had while serving. The unit renamed and dedicated its medical support facility as the Jameson Lindskog Aid Station and has also posted a plaque in his memory.
She said that the Pleasanton memorial garden will give her added appreciation that her son's service and sacrifice in Afghanistan will not be forgotten.
A local landscape contractor donated approximately $5,000 in materials, including a fountain and labor to construct the memorial garden. A wood bench was donated by a company in Livermore along with a concrete base for a plaque. The VFW pledged $500 toward the garden memorial. Other contributors included the Pleasanton American Legion, $200; Pleasanton Military Families, $200; AUSA, $200; and the Masonic Lodge, $200.