Captain Jennifer Harris, USMC, was an all-American woman, an athlete, a good student, a generous volunteer. As you will hear in this video, she was, “one of everybody’s favorites.” You will get a sense of who she was and what her personality was like in the beginning moments of this video. It comes from a homemade video she sent to her family shortly before she went on her last mission.
Harris, born and raised in Swampscott, MA, was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Upon graduation, she chose to be a Marine and to fly. She went to flight school in Pensacola, FL, and upon completion of that school, she was stationed with the famous Purple Foxes at the Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, CA, as a CH-46 helicopter pilot. She not only loved the job but she was also very good at it.
On 7 February 2007, she was on her 3rd deployment to Iraq as a CH-46 pilot. She was only days away from the end of the tour and she had been told by her fellow pilots to take it easy and stay safe until her return date. She already knew what she was going to do on her return to the States. She was going to be an ROTC instructor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and was looking forward to “motivating some college students.”
That morning, word came in that there were some wounded Marines in a firefight that needed to be picked up, and, despite being “short,” Captain Harris said she wanted to fly one more mission. We can believe that it was those wounded Marines that motivated her to take this mission. That was the meaning and the purpose of her job after all. She was there. She was skilled. It was her duty.
While flying into the battle zone, her helicopter was hit by rockets fired by ISIS insurgents and was shot down, killing her and the other six crewmembers on the flight. Capt. Harris was 28 years old and was the sole female killed in action (KIA) in her unit in Iraq. She answered the call, and she did not turn back.
The last part of this video is backed by a song that, I believe, was written for and about her. In it, you will hear the words, “There is no turning back when you answer the call.” Capt. Harris was true to her word, to her oath and to her honor as a Marine. She was one of the best among us. Her sacrifice must never be forgotten.
The Veterans Site honors her memory, and we promise to never forget the sacrifice she made for her Marines and for the nation, nor the sacrifice that her Gold Star family lives with every day. We, like all of her Marine Corps sisters and brothers, remain Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) to her. We are Fratres Aeterni! God bless Capt. Jennifer Harris and her family.Whizzco