"Used with permission from Stars and Stripes. @ 2006 Stars and Stripes."
'Bandit' rock band leader Aaron Jagger is killed in Iraq
By Matt Millham, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, August 12, 2006
A Friedberg, Germany-based soldier who was known for the music he played at memorial services in Iraq was killed there Wednesday.
The death of 1st Sgt. Aaron Jagger, 43, was confirmed Friday by his brother, Anson Jagger.
First Sgt. Jagger was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment “Bandits.”
The names of two other soldiers who died along with Aaron Jagger in a Ramadi attack have not been released pending notification of next of kin. Another 1st Brigade soldier also died Tuesday from combat wounds suffered during fighting on Sunday.
Anson Jagger said his brother’s death came on the heels of the loss of their younger brother, Quinn Jagger, who died of brain cancer during Aaron Jagger’s first Iraq tour in 2004.
“Aaron was able to get out of his tour about a month early to come home for that funeral,” Anson Jagger said in a phone interview. “It was just devastating to the family.”
“When my little brother died and Aaron came home, we really, for the first time in five years or more, we had time to sit back and reflect on life.”
During those talks, Anson Jagger tried to talk his brother out of staying in the Army.
“Aaron talked about one more hitch. He thought it would give him a little more rank, a little more money, a little more security for retirement,” Anson Jagger said. “He was always gonna get out. Isn’t that the story every time for a lot of guys? But he really loved what he did and was committed to the guys he fought with.”
“He had a very dynamic and engaging personality. It fit well with his other love, and that was music,” Anson Jagger said.
Aaron Jagger was well known as lead guitarist of the 1-37’s war zone rock band, which recorded the unit’s battle hymn, “The Bandit Song,” earlier in the deployment. The song was a hit in the battalion and kicked off all unit functions.
But the band also played at the unit’s downrange memorial services.
“He believed in what he was doing and thought it was the right thing. He always told us not to worry about him, that he would be OK,” Carol Bailey, Jagger’s mother, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Aaron Jagger scheduled his two weeks of rest and recuperation leave during this tour to coincide with a family reunion in Michigan in early July. Since his brother would be home, Anson Jagger planned to have his wedding during those two weeks as well.
“He was so excited about coming home,” Anson Jagger said.
But two weeks before the reunion, Aaron Jagger’s brigade was moved from relatively placid northern Iraq to Ramadi, the heart of the Iraqi insurgency. In the shuffle, news came that Aaron Jagger’s leave was canceled.
“It really saddens me. And I’m sure with that news, he felt like, ‘here we go again.’ But he knew the risks and the consequences, and he was a very courageous person,” Anson Jagger said.
During its first Iraq deployment, the 1st Brigade lost 23 soldiers in 15 months. Of those, 13 were members of the 1-37. At least eight of the brigade’s soldiers have been killed in the last month, according to casualty reports from the Department of Defense.
Jagger leaves behind a wife and five daughters who were living in Germany.
(Read an April, 2006 story about Aaron Jagger and his band here.)
This article is from Stars and Stripes and is reprinted here in memoriam of this 3d Armored Division Desert Storm veteran.
"Used with perrnission from Stars and Stripes. @ 2006 Stars and Stripes."
The point-of-contact for the "1st Brigade in Desert Storm" section of the Association of 3AD Veterans website is David Feller . David is a DS Veteran having served with the 4-67 Armor "Bandits". Please address 1st Brigade content comments to him.