06 Nov 2009:
Oklahoma high school graduate one of the soldiers killed at Fort Hood
By BRYAN DEAN Staff Writer
Published: November 6, 2009
A Tipton soldier killed Thursday during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, was a quiet boy who thought the military would help him grow into a man, his family said Friday.
Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, 22, was one of 12 soldiers killed when a gunman opened fire at a soldier readiness center on the post. The gunman, identified by authorities as Maj. Nadil Malik Hasan, 39, was shot several times by a civilian police officer but survived the attack.
Hunt was a 2005 graduate of Tipton High School. Tipton is near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Known as J.D., Hunt was voted "most quiet" in his senior class. His grandmother, Kay Smith of Frederick, said J.D. even dressed so that he would blend in at school.
"He never gave his mother one minute of heartache in his whole school life," Smith said. "He was a good student. He was so embarrassed if someone thought he did something wrong."
Hunt was married two months ago, Smith said. His wife, Jenna, was finishing a class in Oklahoma City and planned to move to Fort Hood, where Hunt recently bought a home.
Leila Willingham, Hunt's sister, said one of the family's fondest memories was when Hunt's mother, Gale Hunt, had to drive to the high school and give her permission for him to sit out of a cat dissection for a science class because he didn't feel right about it.
Kathy Gray, an administrative assistant at Tipton Schools, said Hunt started attending school in Tipton in elementary school.
"He was a real quiet kid, just kind of a quiet boy and a good kid, very kind," Gray said.
Superintendent Shane Boothe said school officials are planning to have a moment of silence tonight at the Tipton football game against Thackerville and will plan other memorials.
Services have not been set.
Willingham, 30, of McKinney, Texas, said her brother kept to himself but was a sweet person who loved his family.
"On Mother's Day last year he sent me flowers," Willingham said through tears. "How many brothers would send their sister flowers for Mother's Day?"
Willingham said she once tried to explain the love of a parent to Hunt, who had no children of his own. Willingham told him she would willingly die to protect her children.
"And he told me he would die for my children in a second, too, children that aren't his," Willingham said. "He went on to say he would die for a complete stranger and would jump in front of a bullet for any of his soldiers."
She said the family considers Hunt a hero and suspects he died protecting others.
Hunt joined the U.S. Army three and a half years ago and was preparing for his second deployment to Iraq when the attack happened, Smith said. He re-enlisted once and planned to make a career of the military. True to his nature, Smith didn't say much about Iraq to his grandmother.
"All he would ever say to me, because I don't think he wanted to upset me, was that there were a lot of things he wanted to tell me but he didn't want to tell me now," Smith said.
Smith said family members worried constantly about Hunt when he was deployed but were unprepared for what happened Thursday.
"This is so senseless," Smith said. "This is so stupid."
15 May 2008
Thank you so much for the packages, everyone really appreciates the help. I'm not really sure what you would like to know, so I'll just say a little bit. Jason was deployed in November of 2007. He would do this himself but with the limited time they are allowed on computers, it is pretty much impossible. He is so busy and has so little time that he never gets to send me letters, I hear from him every few days online though. He should be coming back in January 2009, hopefully if nothing gets changed. I try to do as much for him as I can, but like I said before I am a single mother of 3, with no help. He tries to help me and support me as much as he can from there, but the distance does make it difficult. We are planning our wedding right now, but since we don't know exactly when he'll be back, it's hard to choose a date. Plus hiring anyone fr the wedding(cateror, dj, etc) they want to know dates and times, which I can't give. I really respect the military spouses that raise the children for 15 months while their husband/wife is away! Well, thanks again for everything! It has helped out so much. He said that the things people sent were wonderful, baby wipes and razors can always be used. Thank you for all your help and support!
26 Mar 2008
(From his alternate):
Actually I am filling this out for my boyfriend, he is in Iraq for 15 months. He said they do have electricity, but they are out on missions so much that usually they don't. His unit is from Georgia, but he is originally from Oklahoma, as am I. I would love to be able to buy him all the things he needs, but I am a single parent of 3 and so it's not very easy. He did say that baby wipes and disposable razors are the most needed things. He would greatly appreciate anything sent to him, as would the other guys. Thank you so much, this is a wonderful operation!