Last Letters Home: Sag Harbor Marine's last thoughts shared with his mother days before he was killed

Thirteen years ago, Marine Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, of Sag Harbor, made the ultimate sacrifice when he helped stop a suicide bomber from passing his checkpoint in Iraq.

News 12 Staff

May 28, 2021, 2:51 AM

Updated 1,055 days ago

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Thirteen years ago, Marine Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, of Sag Harbor, made the ultimate sacrifice when he helped stop a suicide bomber from passing his checkpoint in Iraq.
Haerter shared his last thoughts with his mother, JoAnn Lyles, just days before he was killed.
Lyles says Jordan was her only child and that he wanted things right in the world. She says he was always a champion for the underdog.
"He was proud to be a Marine. He made sure, it's called a gig line," says Lyles. "He made sure he was always perfect. Everything had to be just so when he wore his uniform."
Haerter was in a fleet with First Battalion 9th Marines in 2006 and then the group was deployed in March 2008.
"Jordan always wrote letters home so I knew what was going on and that felt good," says Lyles.
In his last letter to his mom he wrote, "Dear Mom, I'm writing this letter on my first anniversary with Nicole. By the time you get this, I'll have been in the city at my station for quite a while. I'm doing okay over here. I miss Nicole, and you and Dad and home but it's a lot easier for me than I ever imagined it to be. I'm glad you and Nicole are exchanging info. That helps me as much as both of you. Try not to worry too much. We are well trained, and most people fear us here. I'm with guys I trust, and I've known for over a year now. We are going to do an outstanding job over here and then come home. One final note, motomail keeps Marines going. Love, Jordan. "
On April 22, 2008, a suicide bomber in a big vehicle came into the checkpoint where Haerter and his fellow Marine Corporal Jonathan Yale were guarding and it started speeding. They knew it wasn't going to stop so they followed orders to not let anyone through. The two started firing at the vehicle and it exploded, taking their lives but saving the lives of 33 Marines and more than 150 Iraqi policemen and civilians.
Haerter and Yale were awarded the Navy Cross, the nation's second highest award for valor in combat. 
"I miss Jordan, definitely when it happened and as the years go by I am just missing events," says Lyles. "A lot of my friends are grandmas. I miss that type of thing. I miss him going to college. All of the events, the milestones that happen. He is left an unwritten book. So I'm sad for him not having a full life."
Lyles says she wants people to remember Jordan as not only a Marine but also a good guy.


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