Fallen Muslim American Soldier Mourned

Posted on July 28, 2007


Source: Voice of America and USASOC news service

Major James Michael Ahearn had a near perfect life. The 43-year-old career army officer was newly married and recently became a father for the first time. On July 5th, during a routine patrol in Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded, killing Major Ahearn and his driver. For Urdu TV’s Abdul Aziz Khan, VOA’s Jim Bertel has more on this fallen American soldier.

A new dawn beckons at Fort Bragg Military Base in North Carolina. It is one of the most famous military bases in the United States and is home to the famed 82nd Airborne Division.

Major James Michael Ahearn, a Muslim American Hero

There is also a small mosque at the base, and Muslim soldiers of the U.S. Army gathered here earlier this week to pray and mourn the loss of a fellow soldier.

The soldier they are remembering is Major James Michael Ahearn. While in Iraq, Ahearn converted to Islam and married an Iraqi woman named Lena.

In 2005, they moved back to North Carolina where they had a daughter and named her “Khadija,” after the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (s)

Eventually, Major Ahearn was sent back to Iraq. On July 5th, he and his driver were killed when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle.

Chaplain Khan was sent to inform Lena Ahearn of her husband’s death. “When Major Ahearn died, the Army wanted to send a Muslim along with the casualty officer, so they contacted me,” he said. “I went with them and met his wife. Obviously, it was a huge shock for her and there was nothing I could say that would take away her pain. We were without words.”

His colleagues remember Major James Michael Ahearn as a very quiet and peaceful man. He was given an Islamic burial earlier this week at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for many of America’s fallen heroes.

Inna lillahi wainna ilayhi rajighoun
To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return” (Qur’an, surah 2, verse 156)

Major Ahearn’s bio

Maj. James Michael Ahearn was a civil affairs officer assigned to 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C. He died July 5, 2007, from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device attack while conducting a patrol during combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq. Ahearn deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of a civil affairs team supporting the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

This was Ahearn’s second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was born Nov. 3, 1963, in Florida and was raised in California. Ahearn graduated from Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, Calif., in 1988 with an associate degree in liberal arts and later earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Campbell University, Buies Creek, N.C.

He entered the military service in 1989 and later completed the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga. In 1994, he returned to Fort Benning and graduated from the Officer Candidate School. Following OCS, Ahearn was assigned to the 27 th Engineer Brigade here. Subsequently, he served tours at Fort Stewart, Ga., and Fort Irwin, Calif., as well as Korea and Kuwait. Ahearn first deployed to Iraq as an engineer officer in 2003. He also served his country in Saudi Arabia and Germany.

Ahearn’s military education also includes the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced courses at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., the Civil Affairs Officer Course and the Regional Studies Course at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School here.

His awards and decorations include Bronze Star for valor, Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service medals, five Army Commendation medals, two Army Achievement Medals, Korean Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, two National Defense Service medals, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kingdom of Saudia Arabia), Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Basic Parachutist Badge.

Ahearn is survived by his wife, Lina and their daughter, Khadijah Mariam both of Raeford, N.C. He is also survived by his mother, Connie Ahearn of Concord, Calif., and his father, James F Ahearn of Phoenix, Ariz.

Please click here to view a videoclip about Major Ahearn.

Death from an Islamic perspective, and how to cope with losing a loved one

This is part 1 the complete show is on the site, TheDeenShow.com.
In this show, we deal with Death in Islam and how Muslims should view Death. Sheikh Yusuf Estes and Siraj Wahaj give some advice for those who have lost loved ones and how to deal with the pain and continue moving forward. The complete Show is on the site http://www.TheDeenShow.com

Too busy with our careers? A reminder about Death and Life After Death