FORT HOOD — A great officer, mentor, leader, caring person, motivator, faithful husband and fierce friend — 1st Lt. Jason Togi was remembered as many things during a memorial ceremony Wednesday morning. Above all, he was remembered as a devoted soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice defending his country.
Togi, 24, deployed to Afghanistan on July 4 as an engineer platoon leader in Charlie Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. He was killed Aug. 26 in Hasan Karez, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with a roadside bomb.
“He paid the ultimate price of freedom that day,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kielpinski, brigade rear detachment commander. “We miss him greatly and will never forget his sacrifice.”
Members of the young lieutenant’s family attended the memorial, held at the brigade’s chapel, and wore matching, bold-patterned outfits in tribute to Togi’s birthplace, Pago Pago, American Samoa. Photos flashed on a screen showing a soldier with what Kielpinski described as an easy, confident smile backed up by a generous heart.
When he smiled, “you knew things were good,” said Capt. John Teitman, rear detachment chaplain.
Togi was born June 18, 1989, and joined the Army on Sept. 15, 2011. He completed ROTC and graduated from Missouri Wentworth Military Academy and later arrived at Fort Hood on Oct. 18, 2012.
Sgt. Genaro Sexton, of the unit’s rear detachment, recalled seeing his platoon leader deploy this summer.
“The last thing I said to him is I hope I see you when you come back,” he said, adding it was a privilege to speak about Togi at the ceremony.
Sexton recalled the young leader’s calm demeanor and professional manner.
“No matter what you did, you couldn’t make him too mad,” he said. “If he knew someone was struggling ... he would talk to him and see if he could do anything to help the trooper.”
The chaplain recalled how loving Togi was, and that he ended each mission brief by telling his soldiers he loved them.
“He loved others, and he cared for their well-being and that they might excel,” Teitman said. “The cord of love still holds, still binds us together. Not only in our shared loss, but in our care for each other.”
Togi is survived by his wife, Siosiana Togi, and his parents, Alipapa and Angela Togi.
During his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, National Defense Service Medal, the NATO Medal and the Air Assault Badge.