Young Claremore Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

Monday, September 17th 2012, 12:29 pm
By: Dee Duren, Craig Day

A young Oklahoma soldier was killed in Afghanistan Sunday. Jon Townsend, 19, is being remembered for his friendliness and deep love of his country.

His family believes he was killed in one of the recent ambush attacks carried out by Afghan police who've turned on U.S. soldiers. 

Katy Nelson says it's been a nightmare, like she's been in a fog, since two soldiers knocked on her door Sunday evening to give her the terrible news no military parent ever wants to hear.

"When I seen those uniforms out the window, I knew," said Katy Nelson. "I told them, 'I don't want you here. I don't want you here.'"

"To lose my son, that's not supposed to happen," she said.

What makes Townsend's death even more heartbreaking is that he leaves behind a young wife, Brittany, who is now a widow at the age of 18. The couple got married while Townsend was on leave and only got to spend three days together before he was deployed. 

"He was looking forward to being with his wife in Washington and starting a family," said Jon Townsend's mother, Katy Nelson.

His mom says Jon, who lost his dad at 10 years old, knew at a young age he wanted to be in law enforcement like his grandfather or in the military. He was a 2011 graduate of Sequoyah High School and, like a number of fellow students, joined the military after graduation.

Former teachers and friends say he was so friendly, outgoing and fun that they're in shock.

"It's not uncommon here at this school for these kids to be close, and I think they're all feeling pain today," said Raedeana Hundley, Townsend's former teacher. 

Katy Nelson says her son loved music and was a strong young man of Christian faith who truly cared for others, often ministering to them.

What will she miss most about him?

"Every time I talked to him, him telling me he loved me," she said.

Her own faith is what is getting her through such a terrible loss.

"I've got to remember he was a Christian; there is something after death," she said.

Townsend's Facebook page speaks of his love for God, his wife, family, friends and sports. He wrote the following:

"If you can keep your love in God passionate and hold onto that faith, then anger and hate will stay in the shadows."

Townsend's body is being brought back to Dover Air Base in Delaware. It will be at least a week before funeral services will be held here in Oklahoma.