First Sgt. Charles King didn't take leave for the birth of his first son, Jordan, his fiancee, Dana Canedy writes, because he refused to come home ahead of any of the young soldiers under his command. [He did take two weeks in August, when his son was five months old.]
King spent over a year working on a journal for his son, filling over 200 pages with stories, advice, and pictures, so that he would have a presence in Jordan's life and memory, even if he wasn't around to watch him grow up:
"Dear son," Charles wrote on the last page of the journal, “I hope this book is somewhat helpful to you. Please forgive me for the poor handwriting and grammar. I tried to finish this book before I was deployed to Iraq. It has to be something special to you. I’ve been writing it in the states, Kuwait and Iraq.Also, he wanted his son to know he was a diehard Cleveland Browns fan. King was killed by an IED explosion in October, one month before his tour was up.
From Father to Son, Last Words to Live By, by Dana Canedy [nyt]
Audio & Photos from Charles King's journal and his family[nyt]