Joseph Jolly Haydon Jr., 40, an Army Special Forces major and foreign-area officer based in sub-Saharan Africa, died Oct. 22 in an airplane crash near Lagos, Nigeria. He was the lone American aboard a Nigerian commercial flight in which 117 people were killed. Maj. Haydon, who was returning from a meeting in Germany at the time of his death, was the head of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. mission in Abuja, Nigeria. He was responsible for defense matters between the United States and the Nigerian military. He was recognized as an authority on Africa and was responsible for significant civil works projects benefiting the Nigerian people. Maj. Haydon was born in Huntsville, Ala., and as a member of a military family lived at numerous Army posts, including Fort Leavenworth, Kan., West Point, N.Y., and the Marshall Islands. He attended public schools in Arlington and Fairfax counties and was a 1983 graduate of Oakton High School. After his graduation from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., in 1987, he was commissioned in the Army and served in a tank battalion in Germany. He joined the Special Forces in 1992. He received a master’s degree in military studies from the American Military University in Manassas in 2000. In 1996, he left the Army and spent three years as a military adviser in the United Arab Emirates. He worked in real estate in Williamsburg for a year before rejoining the Army in 2000. In addition to his military career, Maj. Haydon enjoyed an adventurous life. He ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, rafted the Zambezi River in Africa and traveled extensively with his family throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Survivors include his wife of nine years, Maria Jesus Alonso Haydon, and two children, Forrest Alonso Haydon and Carmela Alonso Haydon, all of Abuja; his parents, retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph Jolly Haydon and Coreen Haydon of Fredericksburg; a brother; and a sister.
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