« 8th Comm. Bn. deploys to Germany | Main | 'All-access Pass’: Fallujah bridge demilitarized »

Sag Harbor Marine killed in Iraq

On Monday, JoAnn Lyles received a letter from her only child, who wrote her about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.


BY SOPHIA CHANG | sophia.chang@newsday.com
9:59 AM EDT, April 24, 2008

The next day, three Marines delivered the awful news: Her son, Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, had been killed by a suicide bomber who attacked his squad in Iraq, according to the military.

"It's just numbing. Today feels worse than the first day," Lyles said through tears at her Sag Harbor home Thursday.

Haerter, 19, was killed in the Ramadi province of Iraq Tuesday about 1:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, said 1st Sgt. Amber Kash, a casualty assistance officer. She could not specify the circumstances of Haerter's death, citing security policies.

The Multi-National Corps said two Marines serving with the West Force were killed in Ramadi on Tuesday when a "suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated at an entry control point," according to a news release.

The attack also wounded three other Marines, two Iraqi police officers and 24 civilians, who were treated at local medical facilities, the release said.

Haerter was part of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, and he trained Iraqi policemen in Ramadi, his family said.

Kash said Haerter was deployed from Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., after enlisting in September 2006, months after he graduated from Pierson High School in Sag Harbor.

On Thursday, the flag outside the school flew at half-staff.

"He was a great, great kid," principal Jeff Nichols said. "He was really well liked. It's just very sad."

Haerter enjoyed video games and driving his truck, and he loved serving in the Marines, Lyles said.

In the letter to his mother, Haerter wrote that he wanted to be a Sag Harbor police officer and retire early enough to take over his father's water filtration business, said Lyles, 51, who is divorced from Haerter's father, Christian Haerter, also of Sag Harbor.

His father declined to comment.

Haerter's girlfriend Nicole Jonat, 18, a college student at SUNY-Oneonta, remained in disbelief Thursday.

"I still feel like they have the wrong person," she said from her Sag Harbor home, where she was spending her spring break.

Funeral arrangements are pending, and burial will be at Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor, Kash said.

Kenny Porpora contributed to this story.