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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hawaii Medal of Honor given to slain soldier's son

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Jase Brostrom, 7, shows the Hawai'i Medal of Honor he accepted for his father, 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom. Taking part in the ceremony were, from left, state Rep. Mark Takai, Gov. Linda Lingle and Maj. Gen. Robert Lee.

Photos by ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Read our series Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan at www.honoluluadvertiser.com/wanat.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Jase Brostrom holds the Hawai'i Medal of Honor after the ceremony. His father, 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, was killed in Afghanistan in 2008.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Maj. Gen. Robert Lee presents Jase with the Hawai'i Medal of Honor in Gov. Linda Lingle's office. The state presented the award to Jonathan Brostrom's family in March, but Jase was in Utah then and unable to attend the event.

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Jase Brostrom proudly wears a pin on his shirt that bears a picture of himself and his father following his dad's graduation from Army Ranger school.

Yesterday, the 7-year-old first-grader was presented another award that he said he will cherish for as long as he lives. Jase was given the Hawai'i Medal of Honor by Gov. Linda Lingle in honor of his father, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, who was killed in Afghanistan last year.

"I'm happy to be getting the award," Jase said. "I miss him."

Brostrom, a Damien Memorial High and University of Hawai'i ROTC graduate, died on July 13, 2008, in a firefight in Wanat, Afghanistan. The 24-year-old 'Aiea resident was pinned down by machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades as he attempted to help reinforce an observation post that was being hit hard by enemy fire.

Brostrom was posthumously presented the Silver Star, the third-highest military award for valor, and in March the state honored him by presenting his family with the Hawai'i Medal of Honor.

But because Jase lives in Utah with his mother, he was unable to attend the ceremony. Yesterday, however, Lingle, Maj. General Robert Lee, and the state Legislature held a special ceremony in the governor's office and presented Jase with the state's Medal of Honor.

Lingle also gave Jase a joint resolution signed by the entire Legislature.

"They're saying that they all agreed that your father will be forever remembered," Lingle told the boy.

Jase thanked the governor and had a gift of his own to present to Lingle. After struggling to pull a box from his pocket, he gave Lingle a silver bracelet that's identical to one he wears that is engraved with his father's name, unit and date of death.

"This is from my dad," he said to Lingle. "Thanks for having us."

Also attending the ceremony were Jase's mother, Lindsey Spargur, maternal grandmother, Kay Spargur, paternal grandparents, David and Mary Jo Brostrom, and uncle, Blake Brostrom.

After the ceremony, Jase said he wears the pin and the bracelet because they have special meaning to him.

"I remember him as a hero," Jase said. "I've been wearing it for a long time because it reminds me of my dad."

Lindsey Spargur said her son is doing as well as can be expected. She said Jase is strong, outgoing and has a great personality, just like his father.

"Sometimes it makes it harder, but at the same time we always have reminders, like, 'Jon would say the same thing' or 'Jon would do the same thing.' So that's good," Spargur said.

David Brostrom said his family appreciates the effort Lingle and the state made to honor his son and grandson.

"It's something that he'll remember for the rest of his life. It's a great Christmas present," Brostrom said. "This is all part of the healing process. The support we've gotten from the state of Hawai'i has just been absolutely fabulous."

He said he also believes that Jase is handling the death of his father well. If Jase is anything like his dad, David Brostrom said, he will "become a great man."

"He has his rough days just like we all do, but he's doing surprisingly well," David Brostrom said. "Younger kids are very resilient, actually more so than adults, so he's doing very well. He's doing very well in school, a very outgoing child."

At the end of the ceremony, Lingle asked Jase if he wanted to stay for a press conference with reporters, but he politely declined.

"I want to go surfing," he said. "I got my own surf board."

Read our series Bad Blood: The Ambush of Chosen Company in Afghanistan at