1LT Jamie Campbell

Killed in action January 7th 2006

A former Washington state rodeo queen and three Anchorage-area men were the four Alaska Army National Guard crew members who died in a weekend helicopter crash in northern Iraq, relatives and friends say. Family, friends and officials identified the victims as 1st Lt. Jaime Campbell of Fort Wainwright, Chief Warrant Officer Chester Troxel of Anchorage, and Specialists Michael Ignatius Edwards of Anchorage and Jacob Eugene Melson of Wasilla. All four were members of the Guard's 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment. Four civilians and four other military personnel also were killed in the crash Saturday. Campbell, 25, and Troxel, 44, were piloting the UH-60L Black Hawk when the aircraft went down, Brig. Gen. Craig Christensen, the state guard's commander, said Tuesday. Campbell had been living at the Fairbanks post with her husband. Army Capt. Sam Campbell also is in Iraq and will fly back with his wife's body, said her mother, Miki Krausse of Ephrata, Wash. Between sobs during a phone interview, Krausse described Jaime Campbell as selfless and talented, an artist and expert horsewoman, the eldest of three daughters. While still in high school in Ephrata, she mastered her horse-handling skills so well she represented the state as rodeo queen. She enlisted in the Washington Army National Guard in 1999, joining the Alaska counterpart in March 2003. "When she decided to do something, it had to be her best," Krausse said. "She was as beautiful inside as she was outside." Campbell was the state rodeo queen in 1998, the same year she graduated from Ephrata High School as student body president.

She joined the Washington Army National Guard midway through her studies at Washington State University to help pay for school, and graduated with a degree in interior design in 2003, Campbell's father, Jeff Krausse, told The Wenatchee World. She chose to stay with the National Guard to pursue an aviation career, he said. Jaime and her mother e-mailed each other every day. She also was close with her father, an Army command sergeant major who just returned from his own tour in Iraq. Jeff Krausse said he spent five days with his daughter two months ago during a short break. His last image is of her in the pilot's seat when she flew him back to his post. "I never got to give her a hug goodbye," he said, his voice breaking. The last time Miki Krausse heard Jaime's voice was when she called to wish everyone a happy New Year. "She said she loved us and missed us and couldn't wait to come home," she said. "She always told us she was safe, that she could take care of herself. She said not to worry about her."