FARMINGTON – A Navajo member of the United States Marine Corps has died in the war in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Jonathan D. Davis, of Kayenta, Ariz., died Feb. 22 in the Helmand province during combat, according to a Navajo Nation press release Monday. He was 34, according to the Department of Defense website.
Davis was assigned to the Headquarters Battalion, 32nd Georgian Liaison Team, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif, the release said.
“The Navajo Nation mourns the loss of a warrior who gave his life defending freedom. We are saddened by the loss of our warrior and we offer our prayers to the family during this difficult time,” Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said Monday night after posting the news to Facebook.
The Department of Defense announced Davis’ death Monday, though how he died remains unclear.
The Kayenta community knew Davis for his help in bringing the rural Navajo community two state high school basketball championships in the late 1990s, the release said.
The Marine Corps Times reported that he joined the Marine Corps in 1997 and received a Purple Heart after combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The publication also reported that he was a motor transport operations chief.
“His presence will be missed,” Shelly said.
To honor Davis, Shelly ordered the Navajo Nation flag to be lowered from sunrise Tuesday through Friday and again on the day of his funeral service, which is still pending.
Davis is the 14th Navajo member of the armed forces to lost their life during Operation Enduring Freedom.