PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – Jameson Lindskog knew the importance of right and wrong. He lived by the belief of helping the underdog even if it meant putting himself in the line of fire. He died doing just that on Tuesday.
Lindskog, an army medic, was killed by gunfire while assisting a fellow soldier in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Two other soldiers from his unit were also killed.
Donna Walker, the mother of the 23-year-old medic from Pleasanton, said her son knew that the world was unfair. But she said that never stopped him from doing absolutely anything for those in need.
Lindskog was shy and quiet at first, she said, but that once he got to know people, he was open and affectionate.
He loved animals, Walker said, like the dogs his mother rescued. One of the family’s dogs, Commanchi, suffered from epilepsy and would often have seizures.
Without getting upset or emotional, Lindskog would patiently take care of him, Walker said.
“That’s how I knew he would make a good medic,” she said.
In 2008, after a fruitless search to find a job as a massage therapist after graduation from the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville, Lindskog enlisted in the army.
“I remember the moment he told me. I was sitting on the couch and he walked in and said, ‘Guess what I just did. I went to Livermore and signed up for the army.’ I nearly fell off the couch,” Walker said.
His father, Curtis Lindskog, said he wasn’t nervous when he heard the news that his son had enlisted.
“He had the ability to pick a path in life,” Curtis Lindskog said. “It was his life to live. It was my responsibility as a parent to support him.”
Jameson Lindskog reasoned that enlisting would provide him with the opportunity to complete an accelerated emergency medical technician program, Walker said.
This would push him closer to his goal of becoming a physical therapist, she said, and might have allowed for a more promising economy in which to find a job once his service was complete.
He had a plan for what he wanted, his father said. That plan included eventually getting married and having children, Walker said.
In the meantime, Jameson Lindskog enjoyed playing with the children of his fellow soldiers in Fort Campbell, Ky., where he would make funny faces and entertain them, she said.
“He had an interesting sense of humor,” Curtis Lindskog said, chuckling.
Although Jameson Lindskog wasn’t a big television fan, he enjoyed watching reruns of the show “Home Improvement,” Walker said.
“He would crack up at that grunting Tim Allen would do,” Walker said, mimicking the noise. “He was a Tim Allen-type for sure. He got that.”
Jameson Lindskog spent hours mastering video games with his older brother, Kenny Nekotani, and playing on the computer, the elder Lindskog said. He also devoted his time to practicing the keyboard and piano, Walker said.
“He learned by ear, no lessons at all,” she said.
Classical music was his favorite to play, but he also enjoyed listening to jazz, Walker said.
Jameson Lindskog attended Orion Academy, in Moraga, a school specializing in teaching children with Aspberger’s syndrome and other various learning disabilities.
Although he struggled with dysgraphia, a writing disability, and dyscalculia, a math disability, testing never showed he had the autism-like disorder, Walker said.
Consistently on the school’s honor roll, Jameson Lindskog’s experience at Orion Academy was very positive, she said. He continued his schoolwork as an EMT in the army, where his mother said she was able to speak with him quite frequently, ranging from two to 20 calls a week.
It had been three weeks since she last spoke to him, but Walker said she wasn’t worried because it was normal to go through a period of silence during busy times.
Her husband, Matthew Walker, answered the door when uniformed army officers knocked on Tuesday. He called his wife.
“My heart sank when I got that phone call. There’s only one reason why they come,” she said. “It was the worst day of my life.”
As Donna Walker watched the officer read her details about her son’s death, she said she noticed he was trembling and his voice was cracking.
“I just wanted to give the poor man a hug. Here was someone who felt as deeply as I did,” she said.
Donna Walker said her son’s biggest fear was being killed by a roadside bomb while traveling between locations but that he didn’t scare very easily.
“He was talking to me on the phone and asked me to hold on; I heard a bunch of noise. I asked, ‘What’s that?’ He said ‘Oh, it’s just mortar fire.’ That’s typical. He was just unflappable,” Donna Walker said.
Jameson Lindskog is survived by his mother, Donna Walker, of Pleasanton; his father, Curtis Lindskog, of Livermore; his half-brother, Kenny Nekotani; his half-sister, Candace Khattab; and his stepfather, Matthew Walker, of Pleasanton.
He received the Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal;
National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
His family asks that, in lieu of flowers, cards or other similar tributes, that people direct donations in Lindskog’s memory to “In Memory of Jameson Lindskog” and address the donations to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298, PO Box 601, Pleasanton, CA 94566. The donations will be used to benefit those members of the Army who are currently serving and for the benefit of current veterans who are transitioning at the end of their service.
When the fallen medic’s remains come home next week, the city of Pleasanton plans to fly all city flags at half-staff as a tribute to the first Pleasanton man killed while serving in Afghanistan, city spokeswoman Joanne Hall said.
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