There was shooting everywhere, but Jameson Lindskog, a 24-year-old Army medic serving in Afghanistan, didn’t care. He saw that another soldier had been hit and before anyone could stop him, he ran to help.
He was weaponless and thinking only of treating wounds.
“Not once did he flinch,” said 1st Sgt. Randy Wright, who spoke at a memorial service for Lindskog at the Veterans Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon.
“And that’s what he was doing when he was mortally wounded.”
Lindskog died March 29 during an ambush in Kunar province near the Pakistan border.
More than 300 people packed the Veteran’s Hall to pay tribute to Lindskog, while a giant flag hung just outside on Main Street, closing off the street.
Wright talked about the first time he met Lindskog.
“I’m the guy everyone’s supposed to be afraid of. I’m the one who scolds them,” said Wright, whose military career spans 20 years. “But he wasn’t afraid of me the way the others were.”
Lindskog would question him if he didn’t agree — challenging him sometimes on the best way to do things. Wright said he was surprised at first, but then came to like and respect Lindskog.
“I thought, 'Any dude who will show up in my office, as big as I am, and talk that way will be a fine medic,'” he said. “But he’s the only one I let talk to me that way.”
Later, when the two were in a firefight and dealing with seven wounded soldiers, Wright said he felt an elbow in his side and turned to see Lindskog, who simply said, “You’re in my way.”
That’s how he was, his family said — a straight talker.
“It’s really hard, you know,” said brother Ken Nekotani, his voice thick with emotion. “He was the balance in my life — I liked to call him The Truth.
“I wanted to go do stuff with my brother when he got out,” he said. “I’m still going to go do stuff with him, but in my heart.”
Curtis Lindskog, Jameson’s father, said he and the rest of the family haven’t questioned why his son died because they know he was helping others. He said his son was gentle and also marched to the beat of his own drummer.
“He was shy, yet argumentative,” he said. “I like to say he was an absolutist with no shades of gray. His sense of humor was sharp, which wasn’t always appreciated."
Born in San Mateo, Lindskog moved to the Tri-Valley area as a middle schooler and split his time between his mom, Donna Walker, in Pleasanton and his dad in Livermore. He went to Pleasanton Middle School, Amador Valley High and Orion Academy, a private school in Moraga. He graduated from that school in 2005.
He joined the service in 2008 and wanted to be a physical therapist when he finished his tour next year.
He was the first Pleasanton native killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Curtis Lindskog said his son was always trying to find his place in the world and the military had become his most fulfilling endeavor.
“What I’ll miss most is his future,” he said. "But we left nothing unsaid or undone.”
During the service, a picture slideshow started with Jameson as a boy, snuggling with family pets, flexing his little kid muscles and grinning next to Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns. In one, he mugged for the camera while wearing a ridiculously oversized blazer.
In photos, he grew up before the audience’s eyes. First he had baby teeth, then no front teeth, and then finally the smile that started to resemble the one in his military photo — close-mouthed, eyes squinted.
“Nothing we say is enough to scratch the surface of the loss we feel,” said Walker.
At the end of the service, quiet sobs could be heard during the playing of TAPS, and then there were minutes of silence as veterans and soldiers currently serving stood in line to salute Lindskog one last time.