Jason Dahlke was born in Tampa, Florida on November 8th in 1979. As a child, along with his brother and three sisters, he would move to Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the majority of his younger years. In 1999 he moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in May of 2004. For many years he had the desire to serve in law enforcement but sometime after his third year in college he first entertained the idea of possibly joining the military.
Just a month after graduating from UCF he decided to enlist in the military rather than seek a commission as an officer. He knew he wanted to be a Ranger and the path to the 75th Ranger Regiment is long and uncertain for many young Lieutenants, with very little guarantee. So in May 2004, Jason enlisted as an infantryman, and would later attend basic training, airborne school, and the Ranger Indoctrination Program out of Fort Benning, GA. He successfully passed the grueling standards of RIP in December of 2005, and was assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Ranger Battalion out of Savannah, GA.
He served in a Ranger platoon as a rifleman, grenadier, machine gunner, and fire-team leader over the course of three Iraq and one Afghanistan deployment, before moving to the Battalion’s Reconnaissance Platoon (“Recce Platoon”) in Headquarters Company, where he went on to a second deployment to Afghanistan as a section leader to advise local forces. He returned to Alpha Company to assume a role as a squad leader in February of 2009 and would later deploy to Afghanistan for the third time with his Ranger platoon.
Jason died on August 29th, 2009 in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province. His unit was conducting a direct action raid against high value targets when they became engaged with numerous enemy fighters. Sometime during the raid, Jason came across what he believed to be a dead fighter. Unfortunately the man was only playing dead and shot Jason the moment he let his guard down, killing the 29 year old Ranger on his sixth combat deployment. Another Ranger, PFC Hario, was killed during the initial phase of the same objective; it was his first mission as well as his first deployment.
Jason was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and his second Purple Heart – he had been wounded in combat previously in 2007, which he kept secret from the rest of his family. He was a graduate of Ranger School, Warrior Leader Course and the Jumpmaster Course and was previously awarded two Army Commendation Medals and an Army Achievement Medal. Jason also leaves behind a wife.