In Memoriam

SPC Charles Scott Jirtle

Gallatin, TN

Home Award Program Recipient

Army Specialist Charles Scott Jirtle was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, on September 13, 1980, to Terry and Virginia Jirtle and was the youngest of five boys. Much of his boyhood days were spent roughhousing with his brothers, especially on Friday nights when the boys held wrestling matches. Scott graduated from MacArthur High School and held several jobs, including a prison guard, with hopes of one day becoming a police officer in a big city.

In July 2007, Scott joined the Army and completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, the following November. He was then assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division on Fort Campbell, Tenn., which served one year tour of duty in Iraq during 2007-2008. He and his unit then prepared for a May 2010 deployment.

In February 2009, Scott met Savannah Jensen, a single mom who was raising a young daughter, Rylee. The two fell in love and were married in July 2009. In March 2010, Savannah learned she was pregnant, and the two happily looked forward to growing their new family. Just two months later, on Mother’s Day, he was deployed to Afghanistan. Scott and Savannah were able to talk by phone three or four times a week, with the excited dad-to-be always asking to say a few words to his baby on the way.

On June 7, 2010, now four months pregnant, Savannah had been at home enjoying a visit with two other Army wives, when she heard the dreaded “knock on the door.” Seeing the uniformed men, she knew immediately that the news would be devastating, but for a few seconds she hoped they’d report that her soldier had survived his injuries. Sadly, that was not the case: Specialist Scott Jirtle and four others Soldiers were killed instantly when their vehicle patrol struck a buried roadside bomb. The unit was just three weeks into its deployment.

Specialist Jirtle’s awards and decorations include; Army Achievement Medal (2 awards); National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Combat Infantry Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge with Mechanic and Weapons Qualification: M4-(expert).

On November 9, 2010, Savannah gave birth to a daughter, Kenzie, a name that she and Scott had picked out in the early weeks of her pregnancy. The birth filled Savannah with new hope in the grief-filled months that followed Scott’s death. But as the months passed, the challenges of being a single mom became increasingly difficult. Struggling financially, Savannah sought help from the Army’s Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) on Fort Campbell where workers told her about Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program. Savannah applied for the program, and in January 2013 she was awarded a mortgage-free home in Gallatin, Tenn.

Savannah is grateful for all that Homes For Our Troops and its Home Award Program has done to honor her late husband’s sacrifice to our nation. She is happy to be able to raise her family in a home in which all financial hardships and worries have been removed, thus enabling her to focus instead on being a good mother. Savannah has also opened up her home to her dad, allowing him to live among the comfort and support of his family. But above all, she is grateful to be able to provide her daughters with a good life.