John Kyle Daggett
Sergeant, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 423-08
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant John K. Daggett, 21, of Phoenix, Arizona, died May 15, 2008, in Halifax, Canada, of wounds suffered May 1, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
For more information media may contact the 25th Infantry Division public affairs office at (808) 655-6341.
16 May 2008:
A 21-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier died yesterday from wounds he suffered when a rocket propelled grenade struck his vehicle earlier this month in Baghdad, the Pentagon said.
Sergeant John K. Daggett, 21, of Phoenix was the eighth member of the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat team to die in Iraq since the unit arrived there last December.
Daggett, a soldier assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, was wounded on May 1 and died in Halifax, Canada.
The Army said that Daggett was being flown to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., but was diverted to Canada when his condition worsened.
17 May 2008:
The clink of Schofield Barracks soldier John Kyle Daggett's dog tags are an endearing reminder to best friend Jamie Patasin.
She's been wearing them ever since Daggett, 21, was injured by a rocket-propelled grenade in Baghdad on May 1, 2008.
"He gave me his extra set," said Patasin, 20, by telephone from Phoenix yesterday. "I've had them with me this whole entire time. They clink all the time. It means a huge thing to me."
Army Sergeant Daggett, of Phoenix, died Thursday at a hospital in Halifax, Canada. The cause was complications from injuries sustained in the Baghdad attack, the Department of Defense said.
A fire-team leader and Army Ranger, Daggett was assigned in November to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. He was the eighth member of the 2nd Stryker Brigade to die in Iraq since the unit arrived there last December.
Patasin, an Arizona State University student, recalled "freaking out" when she heard Daggett was injured in the attack. "But for some reason I had it in my head that he could pull through because he's such a strong fighter," she said. "He was actually doing really, really well in the hospital. ... It was really hard."
On May 5, 2008, a medical team left Iraq to transport Daggett to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., but landed in Canada when his condition declined, the Defense Department said.
Daggett became comatose after developing septic shock, Patasin said. His family and a girlfriend he started dating this year flew from Phoenix to be with him and were with him when he died, she said.
"He was probably the most honest-hearted person I ever met," Patasin said.
Patasin and Daggett, known as Kyle, had been friends since freshman year in high school. While in Iraq, he called her sometimes twice a week.
"He was just saying over in Iraq it was crazy, and he was always having close calls," Patasin recalled.
Born Sept. 30, 1986, Daggett grew up in Phoenix and graduated from Pinnacle High School where he played football for four years.
"He worked hard to put himself in the position of starter and a linebacker on our defense," his former coach, Dana Zupke, told the Associated Press. "Every day, he came to practice with a positive attitude and can-do attitude ... he was just that kind of kid."
An avid outdoorsman, Daggett loved hunting, fishing and adventure. He went camping and rafting with friends, once calling an elk down to the campsite, Patasin said. He would hunt in Montana where he father lives.
"He was so intelligent about the outdoors," Patasin said. "Anything to do with outdoors, he was pretty much doing it."
After graduating from high school, he joined the Army with a cousin in June 2005. He was serving his first tour in Iraq.
Daggett planned to return to school after finishing his service in the Army, Patasin said.
He is survived by his father Jack Daggett, his mother Colleen Czaplicki , stepfather Paul Czaplicki, older sister Kendall and two step-sisters.
In Phoenix, Daggett's dog tags continued to comfort Patasin. He gave them to her last summer to remember him while he was in Iraq.
"It's like having a piece of him with me all
the time," she said. "They hang down low right by my heart and I like that."
After the rifles sounded and taps were played and more than 100 mourners were driven away from Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, Sergeant John K. Daggett's father, who had stayed behind, stepped across the grass at Section 60 and rested his face against the dark wooden casket.
Daggett, 21, whose family called him Kyle and whose football and Army buddies just called him Daggett, died May 15, 2008, after a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle in Baghdad. It was his first Iraq tour.
Jack Daggett stood up and walked past the headstones as workers pulled over plywood to make a path for a backhoe. He then returned to his son's grave site and started shoveling, lifting soil into a plastic bag before stepping back for good.
"He's still my little brother," said his sister, Kendall Daggett. "He's still just Kyle, without any title or anything like that." Among high school friends, she said, "I was 'Daggett's sister.' I don't have a first name. I'm just 'Daggett's sister.' "
On a hike two summers ago at Fossil Springs, in Payson, Arizona, her brother hiked down the steep, rocky trail to bring her along in the July heat. "He just made me feel way better, like it was okay, and that I was going to make it," she said. Soldiers sent the family messages after he was killed. They said Daggett had helped them, too, such as when he encouraged them through a 12-mile run.
"It was actually really cool to see that. I know that's how Kyle was, but to have guys write that," she said. "He had the most amazing heart for other people, and it just continued and continued and continued."
Daggett's loyalty showed in the way he treated those around him, she said. He babysat for his old sitter's children, making cookies and carving pumpkins. He volunteered at a nursing home in Arizona and did the same in Sadr City.
"They sent him all the time into Sadr City, right behind the wall where the fighting was really, really bad," Kendall Daggett said. "He would go volunteer because that was how he is. I was like, 'Oh my God, you're volunteering.' "
Weeks before he passed away, his sister said, Daggett had spoken to a loved one about seeing a soldier get killed. "He had run over to try to help, and there was nothing he could do," she said.
Daggett, of Cave Creek, near Phoenix, died in Halifax, Canada, two weeks after he was injured. Daggett joined the Army along with friend R.J. Mann. It was Daggett's senior year in high school.
Daggett had earlier considered joining the Marines, but after talking with his parents had decided instead to become a firefighter. But he and Mann became captivated with the idea of becoming part of the Army's elite group of Airborne Rangers.
"They were thinking they were going to be brothers in this, and everything was going to be okay and they would be together in this whole thing," Kendall Daggett said. They'd take the money and study to be firefighters when they got back. "That was their plan of action," she said.
Daggett wore glasses, something the recruiters noticed. "They told Kyle they were going to give him Lasik eye surgery, and obviously that didn't happen," Kendall Daggett said.
The two were stationed separately, with Daggett sent to Iraq and Mann to Afghanistan. Mann flew in for yesterday's service, which, for some, felt too abrupt. Some relatives said they were hurried away from the burial site. "The somewhat ironic thing was he went into the Army on June 2 and he was buried on June 2," Kendall Daggett said. "I don't know how to take that."
DAGGETT, JOHN K
2 Timothy 1:7
Posted: 3 June 2008 Updated: 8 June 2008 Updated: 22 June 2008 Updated: 13 July 2008 Updated: 6 March 2010
Rose Event Photo, 20 February 2010 By Pam Buell
Photo Courtesy of Holly, July 2008
Photo Courtesy of Holly, June 2008
Photo Courtesy of Holly, June 2008