Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TOP STORY >> Services planned for fallen soldier

Leader staff writer

A 24-year-old Army sergeant who attended Cabot High School died in Panjwa’l, Afghanistan, last Thursday from injuries sustained when he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while on mounted patrol.

At press time, the body of Jason Swindle was back in the U.S. but not in Beebe, where his wife, Chelsey, and 1-year-old son, Paxton, live.

Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Beebe First Baptist Church with arrangements by Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

According to the Department of Defense, Swindle was an infantryman who joined the Army in July 2005. The deployment to Afghanistan was his fourth.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart after his death.

Randy Granderson, an assistant principal at Cabot High School, said Swindle would have been memorable even if he hadn’t been a twin with red hair.

“He was very outgoing, very energetic and had a great sense of humor,” Granderson said. “And he had the Panther spirit, I guess you’d say. At the games, he would be right in the middle of the student section cheering.

“I don’t think he ever met a stranger. He made friends easily and it seemed like everyone was his friend,” Granderson said.

“I talked to him about every day at lunch. I don’t remember everybody be-cause there have been so many. But I definitely remember him,” Granderson said.