Jon Michael Lockey
Colonel, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 859-07
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Colonel Jon M. Lockey, 44, of Fredericksburg, Virignia, died July 6, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.
The incident is under investigation.
Lockey was assigned to Headquarters, Department
of the Army, Washington, D.C. For more information related to this release
the media may contact the Department of the Army public affairs office
at (703) 692-2000.
Army Colonel Jon M. Lockey
A Bakersfield boy who mucked out horse stalls ended up with a primetime-worthy military career and a trailer to call home outside Saddam Hussein's old Baghdad palace.
Army Colonel Jon M. Lockey investigated evidence left behind at scenes of terrorist attacks in Iraq, said his father, Hal.
The gruesome scientific work didn't leave him cold to human tragedy -- even at the ornate palace.
"He did say that when ordinary Iraqi citizens came in there, they wept because they had never realized that that government had built that when they were suffering so much themselves," Hal said.
On July 6, 2007, Lockey was found dead in bed inside his trailer. He was 44.
The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating the cause of death, according to a news release. Lockey's father said he was told it could have been heart-related, although he didn't know if his son had heart problems.
Lockey, a graduate of Bakersfield High School and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, made his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was assigned to the headquarters of the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C.
The public is invited to a memorial service 11 a.m. Tuesday at Valley Baptist Church. A reception at the church will follow. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on August 1, 2007, with full military honors.
Lockey's mother, Pat, and sister, Susan, were too emotional to talk about him Thursday, Hal said.
Lockey deployed to Iraq earlier this year. He served with a unit that dealt with biometrics -- the science of identifying individuals by DNA, fingerprints, retinal patterns or other characteristics.
After an insurgent bombing, his team would gather forensic evidence to identify terrorists who might have also left clues at other attack scenes. Lockey seemed proud to be living the kind of action played out on primetime TV cop shows.
"He said, 'Would you believe I'm doing 'CSI,' 'NCIS,' FBI, CIA, whatever,'" Hal recalled.
Born in North Hollywood in 1963, Jon spent his early years in Canyon Country in the Santa Clarita Valley. Hal's job took the family to Bakersfield in 1979, when his son was 16 years old.
The family lived in Rosedale and raised horses. He was active in the 4-H Club and showed horses. At West Point, he joined the equestrian team.
Lockey loved anything to do with computers. He was fun-loving, but had a driven personality, said his father.
"He'd focus in and he was a workaholic," Hal said.
He played "Army" like other little boys, but it wasn't until his senior year of high school that he decided it was the life for him.
Someone called him into the school office, where he met an officer from West Point. The officer told him he'd be a good candidate for the school and asked if he would be interested in joining. Lockey never found out who pinpointed him, Hal said.
He graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1981 and joined the academy, graduating from West Point in 1985 as a Second Lieutenant.
He then studied Italian at the military language institute in Monterey. Hal said his son wanted to go to Europe, and the Army needed someone in northern Italy.
It was in Monterey that he met his future wife, Jeannie. They have two teenage sons, Steven and Chris.
He spent three years as a liaison for American and Italian forces in Vicenza, Italy.
"If one of our guys got into a brawl in town, he went in and shepherded them back," his father said.
Lockey served in Fort Sill, Okla., where he prepared troops and equipment for the Gulf War. He was disappointed that he didn't get to serve in the war, Hal said.
At Fort Monroe, Va., he was part of a think tank handling intelligence reports from around the world. He was assigned to the Pentagon, where he helped plan the current war in Iraq.
While attending the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, around 2005, he wrote a paper on how to stabilize a country at the end of a war. It involved developing computerized "processes and models" of what would be successful. Hal said he couldn't wrap his mind around it.
Lockey didn't share his thoughts about the controversial days leading up to the Iraq war.
"I think he felt that we need to have planned a little bit more before the aftermath of war," Hal said.
Hal last spoke to his son about two weeks ago. Lockey never really spoke about the culture or daily life in Iraq, but he said in some areas of the country, violence was decreasing and Iraqis were moving on with their lives.
"He said, 'Dad, we've been getting the bad
guys,'" Hal remembered.
Army Colonel Jon M. Lockey was a brilliant analyst who regaled soldiers with tales of saddling his horse before dawn in midwinter and riding with his wife down a snowed-in farm driveway to reach his car en route to the Pentagon, colleagues said. His family recalled Lockey's intelligence and passion for serving his country.
Lockey, 44, of Fredericksburg died Friday in Baghdad of injuries from a noncombat incident, the Defense Department announced yesterday. The military declined to elaborate, saying the incident is under investigation.
"He was a great person," his mother, Pat Lockey, said in an interview from her home in California. "He was very intelligent. He was born military. He went to West Point, and he loved the Army. He loved the patriotism."
Born in North Hollywood, California, Lockey graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1985 and then studied Italian at a language institute in Monterey, California. There he met his future wife, Dorothea Jean. The pair, who had two sons, would have been married 20 years in August.
Lockey later received a master's degree from New Mexico State University and attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, according to a funeral home obituary.
"Jon was a very creative mind, always taking initiatives, thinking about old problems in new ways," said Wilmer A. "Al" Sweetser, a retired Colonel and Lockey's colleague and supervisor from 2002 to 2005 at the Pentagon. "He was just a brilliant officer. I would have expected him to be a leader in his field. It's a great loss."
At the Pentagon, Lockey worked on current and future war planning and helped assess emerging challenges after September 11, 2001, Sweetser said.
Lockey deployed to Iraq as chief of the Biometrics Cell for Multinational Corps-Iraq after being promoted to colonel February 1, said Major Anne Edgecomb of Army public affairs.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hildreth met Lockey in Iraq. "Biometrics in Iraq changed forever because of his wisdom, knowledge, and vision to get the job done for not only the soldiers serving in Iraq but for our country as a whole," Hildreth wrote in an online memorial book kept by Covenant Funeral Service of Fredericksburg.
To colleagues, Lockey would often talk of riding tractors, building fences and other anecdotes of life at his family's Broad Oaks Stables near Fredericksburg.
"He was a man of honor, character and compassion and always led by example," Hildreth wrote. He said Lockey was especially proud of his sons, one of whom recently joined the Marines.
Lockey will be buried in Arlington National
Cemetery after a memorial August 1, 2007, at Covenant Funeral Service.
A memorial service is planned next Tuesday in Bakersfield to honor a soldier who died in Iraq.
Colonel Jon Lockey, 44, died last week of a heart condition.
His father, Hal Lockey, said he knows exactly how Jon would want to be remembered.
"As a person who loved his country, loved his family, was hard working, patriotic … [and] took a job and got it done," said Hal.
Jon was in Baghdad when he died of what the Army calls non-combat-related injuries.
His family said Jon’s heart suddenly stopped, but they’re not sure why.
Jon left behind two sons and his wife of 20 years.
Several websites feature remembrances of the soldier, including one from Jon’s youngest son, stating, “I miss you dad.”
Jon’s parents said Jon’s oldest son is set to be deployed with the Marines next week.
"It’s a hard thing to say ... but I think he wanted to make his dad proud,” Hal said, “and he still wants to make him proud now."
Jon was a graduate of Bakersfield (California) High School, and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors August 1, 2007.
A private memorial is planned next Tuesday.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, people said “Thank You” to a soldier, or donate to a group that supports our troops.
LOCKEY, JON MICHAEL
Posted: 16 July 2007 Updated: 5 August 2007 Updated: 18 November 2007
Photos Courtesy of Holly, November 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, August 2007