Hesperian Jacob I. Ramsey died in Afghanistan on Friday, April 10.

Airman 1st Class Ramsey died of "wounds suffered from a non-combat related incident," according to the Department of Defense. Further details will not be available until an investigation by the United States Air Force into the incident is concluded.

Ramsey, 20, served as a communication specialist for the 712th Air Support Operations Squadron, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, and stationed in Kabul.

"The squadron's function is to provide the Army with immediate close air support, help facilitate the integration of close air support missions into the ground commander's scheme of maneuver, and advise the Army on overall aerospace power employment," said Staff Sgt. Joel Mease, a public affairs specialist for the 7th Bomber Wing. "When deployed, the squadron conducts joint operations daily. The squadron has approximately 90 personnel attached to it."

"Airman 1st Class Jacob I. Ramsey was a true American hero who gave his life fighting to protect the ideals that we hold dear in this country," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement released Tuesday. "We will be forever grateful for his selfless service and incredible sacrifice. Maria and I join all Californians in offering our thoughts and prayers to Jacob's family and friends as they mourn this terrible loss."

In Ramsey's honor, Capitol flags were flown at half-staff.

Hesperia High

Ramsey was a member of the Hesperia High School class of 2006, but graduated in 2005, after three years in school.

"He was a good student, according to his records," said Principal Bob Schnebeck. "He graduated with a 3.66."

"He had a great personality. Happy go lucky, easy-going," said Luke Chappell, who teaches printing and graphics in Hesperia High's Regional Occupational Program. He taught Ramsey for two semesters in 2005. "Basically, he showed a lot of interest in this particular class, because it offered a clear career pathway. ... He did some very extraordinary work in the classroom."

"Jacob was a very diligent student, a simply nice guy, respectful and considerate," said Hesperia High English teacher Connie Moore, who taught Ramsey during his junior year. "I remember his determination to join the armed forces. This tragic loss wears deeply on those who knew him."

Ramsey is the third Hesperian and the fourth graduate of Hesperia High School to die in the theaters of war of Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001:

* Lance Cpl. William J. Wiscowiche, died in April 2004 in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq when his vehicle triggered an improvised explosive device. Wiscowiche, a Victorville resident, attended Hesperia High through his junior year.

* A bomb in Samarra, Iraq, killed Spc. Armando Hernandez in August 2004.

* Sgt. James K. Healy was killed in January 2008 when his vehicle struck an IED in Laghar Juy, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan casualties

As of April 14, there have been 1,122 coalition troop deaths since Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, 673 of them American. Of those 673, the Department of Defense says 223 of them -- just under a third -- were "non-hostile" deaths.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.