Ephrata soldier killed in Iraq
Posted: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 - 02:02:31 pm PST
By Brad W. Gary Herald staff writer
and the Associated Press
Campbell one of 12 soldiers killed in helicopter crash
EPHRATA -- Jaime (Krausse) Campbell was a selfless and energetic woman, according to relatives and friends who describe her always wearing a smile on her face.
The Ephrata High School graduate was one of 12 people killed Saturday when her helicopter went down near Tal Afar in Iraq. She was 25.
A 1st Lt. in the Alaska Army National Guard, Jaime had most recently been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment in Anchorage.
She had been living at a Fairbanks post with her husband. Army Capt. Sam Campbell is also serving in Iraq, and will fly back with his wife's body, said her mother, Miki Krausse of Ephrata, in a phone interview.
Between sobs, Krausse described Jaime as selfless and talented, an artist and expert horsewoman, the eldest of three daughters. While still in high school in Ephrata, she mastered her horse-handling skills so well she represented the state as rodeo queen.
"When she decided to do something, it had to be her best," Krausse said. "She was as beautiful inside as she was outside."
Jaime was the Washington State Rodeo Queen in 1998, the same year she graduated from Ephrata High School and served as student body president.
She joined the Washington Army National Guard midway through her studies at Washington State University to help pay for school, and graduated with a degree in interior design in 2003, Jaime's father, Jeff Krausse, told the Wenatchee World Tuesday. She chose to stay with the National Guard to pursue an aviation career, he said.
She was initially a member of the Ephrata-based 1161st Transportation Company of the Army National Guard where her father had served as a first sergeant.
Jaime and her mother e-mailed each other every day. She also was close with her father, an Army command sergeant major who just returned from Iraq himself. Jeff Krausse said he spent five days with his daughter two months ago during a short break. His last image is of her in the pilot's seat when she flew him back to his post.
"I never got to give her a hug goodbye," he said, his voice breaking.
Jaime used to baby-sit Jerry Gingrich's kids when she was a member of the 1161st. Gingrich, a Chief Warrant Officer 2 in the company, described her as determined person who always wore a smile.
"She always thought of everybody else before herself," Gingrich said. "She was really an incredible person. I wish there were more people like her."
Jaime was one of two pilots flying the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed. The Black Hawk was providing support for the 101st Airborne Division. It crashed east of Tal Afar, a northern city that has in the past seen heavy fighting with insurgents. The cause of the crash is not known, and the Department of Defense said it is under investigation.
It was the deadliest helicopter crash in Iraq since about a year ago when a CH-53 Sea Stallion went down in bad weather in western Iraq, killing 31 U.S. service members.
The last time Miki Krausse heard Jaime's voice was when she called to wish everyone a happy New Year.
"She said she loved us and missed us and couldn't wait to come home," Miki Krausse said. "She always told us she was safe, that she could take care of herself. She said not to worry about her."