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Lt. Col. Jerry A. Moon, US. Army, Ret., 53, of Weston, MO, died Thursday, September 21, 2023, due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was born June 1, 1970, in Killeen, Texas, the son of William “Bill” A. and Leatha C. (Russell) Moon. He graduated from Kewanee High School with the class of 1988. He also attended Western Illinois University and obtained a Ph. D. from the University of Kansas. He married Traci J. Imler on May 29, 2016, in Weston, MO; she survives.
He is also survived by his parents; daughters, Sydney Noel (Sterling) Karr (Moon) of Crestview, Florida and Savannah Lea (Jesus) Espinosa (Moon) of Fort Novosel, Alabama; stepson, Brandon Fuentes of Washington, D.C.; grandson, Elijah Espinosa; granddaughters, Scarlett Karr and Luna Espinosa; sister, Missy (Gregg) Schilling (Moon) of Victoria; brother, Aaron Moon of Kewanee; nephews, Dillon Schilling of Victoria and Cole Moon of Kewanee; and a niece, Darrah Schilling of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
Jerry enlisted in the Army after high school and served 7.5 years in the prestigious and very tough Ranger Regiment, achieving the rank of SGT (E-5). While serving as his colonel's driver, a hand-picked position in any unit, the colonel, impressed by Jerry's mind and his personality, decided that Jerry could best serve the Army by becoming a Second Lieutenant, and arranged for Jerry to receive a full college ROTC scholarship to Western Illinois University in the "Green to Gold" program. He was commissioned into the Military Intelligence branch, but Jerry's career was so unusual that he eventually strayed completely from Military Intelligence assignments to make unique and valuable contributions to the Army's classified Special Operation Forces (SOF).
One of Jerry's early assignments as a lieutenant was as a Scout Platoon Leader in a conventional battalion, a job always given to a sharp, up-and-coming small unit leader. After some additional conventional Army schools, he was eventually assigned to a battalion of the 160th Aviation Regiment where his talents in a small, unique field were recognized. He was serving there when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were demolished on September 11, 2001. When President Bush ordered the Armed Services to enter Afghanistan and administer justice to those living there who deserved it, Jerry was sent to Central Command headquarters in Tampa, FL to participate in the planning. When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was briefed on the plan, he expressed concern about properly preparing the way for the first Special Forces teams which were going to deploy from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan to commence what became known as the Global War on Terror. As a result of Secretary Rumsfeld's keen questioning of the plan, improvements were made and Jerry, because of his rare qualifications, became the first American soldier to land in Uzbekistan in late September 2001. We don't know if he volunteered or was chosen for the job, but Jerry's talents and personality were exactly what were needed in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan at that time. Those of you who have seen the movie "Horse Soldiers," might recall that those 3 Special Forces teams deployed from "somewhere" into Afghanistan. Jerry was at that "somewhere," and he was, literally, the first American soldier to put his boots on that ground.
Jerry moved into Afghanistan to support the SOF operations designed to kill or capture Al Qaeda terrorists, chief among them Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban who had supported bin Laden pre-9/11. He left Afghanistan in March 2002 but was returned in May of the same year, leaving again in February 2003. Before he had a chance to relax, he was ordered to Iraq the very next month, and was an MI company commander in the 101st during its march from Kuwait to Mosul. He worked among the Kurdish people until April 2004. In October 2005, Jerry returned to Iraq, still an MI company commander in the 101st Airborne Division, this time in the infamous "Sunni Triangle." He left Iraq in August 2006, but returned in SEP 2009 to Al Kut, another garden spot, this one run by the Shia. He left Iraq in October 2010. Jerry served roughly 38 months in Iraq on 3 tours. While there, he was wounded in two IED attacks which produced the severe internal injuries which plagued him for the rest of his life.
Wherever the US Army's best SOF units went, so did Jerry. In addition to Afghanistan, he provided his specialized support to operations in Somalia, Honduras, Columbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tunisia, and Morocco. During Jerry's 33 years of Army service, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal four times, the Army's Meritorious Service Medal three times, the Army Commendation Medal twice, and an Army Achievement Medal. Jerry also earned the Combat Action Badge, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Parachute Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the NATO Medal for Bosnia, and the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon.
Visitation will be from 5:00 – 8:00 pm, Friday, September 29, 2023, in the Petersen Auditorium at Kewanee High School. Funeral Services will be at 10:00 am, Saturday, September 30, 2023, in the Petersen Auditorium. Funeral services will also be live streamed on the Golnick-Schueneman Funeral Home Facebook page. Pastor Andrew Christman will officiate. Burial will be in Pleasant View Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Aaron Moon, Brad Nuding, Cole Moon, Dillon Schilling, Don DeMay, Peewee Davis, Dr. Tom A. Wiggins, and Tony Vujakovich. Honorary Pallbearers will be Brandon Fuentes, Gregg Schilling, and Mark Russell. Military rites will be accorded by the Kewanee Veterans Council and active servicemen. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project. Please leave an online condolence for Lt. Col. Jerry A. Moon’s family at www.golnickschuenemanfh.com.
Wounded Warrior Project
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