CRYSTAL LAKE – Aimee McLeod heard from her husband briefly Sunday evening; he said he would call the next morning.
The call never came.
Spc. Jason A. McLeod, 22, of Crystal Lake, was killed Monday in a mortar attack in Afghanistan, officials said. He was a 2006 graduate of Crystal Lake Central High School.
McLeod had been married for more than two years to Aimee. They are the parents of a 15-month old daughter, Jocelyn Elizabeth.
On the day he died McLeod was west of Pashmul, Afghanistan. According to the Department of Defense, he was assigned to the 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based out of Fort Carson, Co.
It was McLeod's second deployment; he also served in Iraq in 2007, said his mother-in-law, Julie Ghannam.
"It's inconceivable," Ghannam said. "He wasn't biologically my son, but it's part of you."
McLeod also is survived by his mother, Barb, and father, Greg, as well as an older brother, Justin, and younger sister, Jacquee.
McLeod first met his wife at a day camp when they were 9 years old, but they lost touch as they grew up. Years later, they were reunited and married when Jason McLeod was on leave from Iraq.
He was deployed again in the spring and was due to go on leave in 22 days, Ghannam said.
Counting down the days helped Aimee McLeod get through the time apart, Ghannam said.
"You don't know when he's going to call," she said. "There was a good time when it was every day, but then if it hit three days, going on four, you would start to get worried."
Ghannam said the couple were discussing what their next step would be when Jason McLeod returned in the summer.
"The Army made him into a man and taught him how to be on his own, and survive and provide," Ghannam said. "I felt that he was putting these stepping stones in place so he could work on the latter part of his life."
The couple's plans included buying a home and starting their life together, Ghannam said.
"We know he's in heaven and deserves to be there," she said. "We're going to take care of things down here and make him proud, just like he made us proud."