One of GIs killed by Afghan gunmen was Denver native One of two American service members killed Thursday in Afghanistan has been identified by his family as Denver native Jordan Logan Bear. Bear, an Army staff sergeant, was 25 and not quite two weeks into his third deployment when he was killed. According to wire reports, Bear and a fellow soldier were killed by two Aghan gunmen on a NATO-Afghan base in the Zhari district of southern Kandahar province. One of the gunmen was a civilian teaching a class on base. Army officials told Bear's mother, Cathleen, that her son was shot in an exchange of gunfire during which Bear turned to try and lift a wounded soldier who had fallen next to him. Bear was a graduate of Kennedy High School. Upon graduation, he joined the Army intending to make it his career, his mother said. He was the third generation of the Bear family to serve in the military. Bear married last summer and he and his wife, Sarah, had their first child, a son, at the end of December. "He once told me that all he wanted was a wife and a son and that he probably would never have that because he would die while serving," his mother said. "It's easy to be bitter about all this," his uncle, Lee Bear, said. "But what it comes down to is Jordan went into this willingly. This was the profession he chose. He tried to keep a positive outlook because he knew he was going into a volatile situation. He tried to put everyone around him at ease." Bear was also a member of the Ponca Indian tribe of Nebraska. He will be buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery. Funeral details are pending. His base under attack from the inside, the Colorado soldier was moving through the dark, toward the gunfire, when his partner was hit. "My nephew turned around and tried to help him, and when he did that, he was hit in the neck," said Lee Bear. "And he was gone almost immediately." Staff Sgt. Jordan Logan Bear was killed March 1 on his NATO-Afghan base in Kandahar Province, near the village of Sangesar, the birthplace of the Taliban. The paratrooper will be buried soon in Denver, where he grew up. Where he played Army with his brothers in their backyard. Where he played quarterback at Kennedy High. But he also had deep Nebraska roots. The 25-year-old was a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, with family ties to the state's Omaha and Winnebago tribes. And he loved the Cornhuskers. "Oh, my goodness. He was an avid fan," said his uncle, a Colorado grad. "He'd come over wearing his Nebraska stuff, and that was like taboo. But he was my nephew." After his second deployment to Afghanistan, Jordan Bear's men chipped in and bought him a present: Husker slippers. He started his third deployment in February -- about the time violent protests began to spread across the country over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base. His family believes he became a victim of that violence. On March 1, two members of the Afghan National Army and a civilian literacy teacher -- men trusted to be on base -- opened fire from a sentry tower. It was 2:30 a.m., his uncle said. Bear and another noncommissioned officer returned fire and started maneuvering toward the attackers. The other NCO was hit and survived; Bear and a private from Texas were killed. Bear was a father to 2-month-old Kayden and 4-year-old Kailee. And he was a newlywed: He and Sarah married during the summer. In Denver, his family is waiting for the Army to release his remains so he can come home. They're planning a four-day wake at All Saints Catholic Church, with Mass the day of the burial -- a mixture of Ponca and Omaha traditions, and their own. Jordan Bear wasn't as traditional as he wanted to be, his uncle said, but he respected where he came from. His grandmother, Ida, is Winnebago. His grandfather, Logan, is Ponca and Omaha. The two moved from Winnebago to Denver in the late 1950s. Jordan Bear knew in high school he wanted to serve, his uncle said. Lee Bear, a veteran himself, tried to talk him out of it. Go to college first, he told him. "But the day he got his diploma, he came over and said he could now go get sworn in at the recruiting office. He was pretty stoked about that. All I could do is support him." Lee Bear heard from some of his nephew's friends after the attack. They said Jordan Bear loved the Army. "That was the profession he chose, and he was a true professional soldier."
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