In memoriam

We salute the fallen men of the 1st Ranger Battalion, who have died serving our country. You will not be forgotten.
It has been said, that "a man never dies when his name remains spoken." We wish to keep these heroes memories alive and ensure that their sacrifice will never be forgotten. Therefore we created this space to tell each Ranger's story in a unique and more complete way. We know that these men were great Rangers, but they were also amazing fathers, sons, and brothers. Those stories should be told. Consequently, if you have a memory, photo or short story your wish to share about one of these warriors, please send an email and we can incorporate it into his page.

Staff Sergeant Jason S. Dahlke

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Aug. 29, in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when they were shot by enemy forces Aug. 28, while conducting combat operations. Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

Killed were:

Staff Sgt. Jason S. Dahlke, 29, of Orlando, Fla and
Pfc. Eric W. Hario, 19, of Monroe, Mich.

The information below is Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel:

You would never know by looking at Staff Sgt. Jason Dahlke that he was a U.S. Army Ranger, his father Roger Dahlke said.

The University of Central Florida graduate rarely talked about work. He was happy-go-lucky. Easy to talk to. Pleasant to be around. Still, Jason’s passion was clear.

“‘Dad,’ he said. ‘I love my job’,” Roger Dahlke recalled his son saying during a recent visit with his parents at their Jacksonville home.

On Saturday, Jason, 29, died during a firefight in a rugged, mountainous area of Paktika province, Afghanistan, according to Army officials. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, which is based at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

It was Jason’s third deployment to Afghanistan, and sixth overall.

“It was what he wanted to do,” Roger said of Jason’s career as an Army Ranger. “We all knew the dangers and the risks.”

A second soldier in the same regiment, Pfc. Eric W. Hario, 19, of Monroe, Mich., died that day during the same firefight.

Jason was born Nov. 8, 1979, in Tampa and raised in Jacksonville with his brother and three sisters. Even as a child, he was easy to get along with. He struck up conversations with his parents’ friends, and hung out with peers who were outgoing like him.

“Everybody liked him. People were just drawn to him,” Roger said.

Jason met his future wife, then named Niki Norvell, in grade school, his mother-in-law Stephanie Norvell said.

In high school, they re-connected. Jason was fun and adventurous. Niki loved him because he made her laugh, her sister Amy Jensen said.

They went to prom together. And when Niki moved to Orlando for college, Jason followed. He couldn’t do without her.

“It was one of those high school romances,” Norvell said.

Jason thought about going into law-enforcement and majored in criminal justice at UCF. Around his third year of college, the young man began to talk to his father about joining the military, Roger said.

Jason graduated from UCF in early 2004, Jensen said. That May he enlisted.

In June 2005 Jason became a Ranger. Three months later, Jason and Niki got married.

“In her words, ‘he was the best,'” Jensen recalled Niki saying.

Jason said little to his parents about his job. Doing so could end his career as a Ranger.

Jason won a Purple Heart and two Army Commendation Medals, according to Army officials, but never mentioned them to his parents.

“We didn’t know anything until we searched on the Internet. There was his picture, getting a Purple Heart,” Roger said.

They didn’t know where he was serving, either.

On Saturday, Army officials knocked on Roger’s door, bearing the news of Jason’s death. They didn’t need to speak.

“I opened the door and I saw them standing there. I knew,” Roger said. “It’s just a sad thing.”

This was written by Willoughby Mariano who can be reached at wmariano@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5171.

Widow Finds Missing Dog Tags/Wedding Ring

By: CRYSTAL BRUCE | WSAV TV 3
Published: July 06, 2012
Updated: July 06, 2012 – 4:54 PM

A cry for help was posted to WSAV’s facebook page last night.

The posting said an Army widow lost her husband’s dog tags and wedding ring along Tybee Rd.

Thanks to the help of volunteers, the support from the community and a little luck – Niki Dahlke found her ring and dog tags!

Here’s Niki’s email message to WSAV on how/where she found them.

“Hey. Thank you everyone so much for spreading the word. I never expected people to come out and look for them. Just wanted to spread the word where they could be returned. Myself and some friends had been walking and looking for several hours today.. A friend of mine pulled up and we were leaning on the car drinking water debating if we were looking too far down the road. I looked down and probably thought it was another bottle cap. I bent closer and saw his name. And couldn’t believe it was one of his tags. I looked up a little and there in the road was his other tag. Completely unbelievable. We decided to look around that area for the ring, the chain had broken. After some searching my friend Nora found the ring. I truly did not think I’d find them, but had to look and told myself after today I was done. This was day three. I am incredible thankful. It doesn’t bring him back or change the situation. But I am so happy to have these back, and am so grateful for my friends and everyone that searched and prayed.”

We salute the fallen men of the 1st Ranger Battalion, who have died serving our country. You will not be forgotten.