LT Jonas M. Panik, USNR
Jonas Martin Panik was a consummate Naval Officer, an outstanding intelligence professional, a true shipmate, a great friend, and a devoted and loving uncle, brother, son and husband. Jonas passed into the presence of God on September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, as the result of a terrorist attack. He was 26 years old.
Jonas was born in State College, Pennsylvania on November 1st, 1974, All Saint’s Day. He grew up in Pennsylvania where he is still remembered as an outstanding student, a superb athlete, an upstanding citizen, and devout member of the Catholic Church. Growing up, Jonas was always active in sports, and in high school he participated in varsity football, basketball and track. Jonas graduated from Bellefonte High School in 1993, and accepted an appointment at the United States Naval Academy.
On July 1st, 1993, Jonas entered the United States Naval Academy. Over the next four years, Jonas worked incredibly hard. He was a member of the football team and the power-lifting team. Despite the time that these activities required, Jonas also became an exemplary leader within the Brigade of Midshipmen. In addition, Jonas was a strong student and is still well remembered by the faculty of the History Department. Because of the kind of person he was, the upbringing he had, and the strength of his character and convictions, his peers universally respected him. On May 23, 1997, Jonas graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve.
Shortly after graduation, on June 14, 1997, Jonas married the love of his life, the former Jennifer Dallas of Hanover, Maryland. While awaiting the start of school, the couple lived in Hanover while Jonas was temporarily assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence. In September 1997, Jonas started the Naval Intelligence Officer’s Basic Course in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After successful completion of that course, Jonas and Jennifer moved cross-country and were assigned to Patrol Squadron 46, “the Grey Knights” in Whidbey Island, Washington. In the two years that they were assigned to VP-46, Jonas successfully completed deployments to the Western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf.
Following their tour in Whidbey Island, Jonas and Jennifer moved back across country to their assignment on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot. While there, Jonas was selected to be a Flag Intelligence Briefer because of his superior skill and dedication. Jonas was fulfilling those duties when he passed into the presence of God. Despite the demands of his job, Jonas had also recently begun a graduate degree program through the Naval War College.
Jonas loved medieval history and lore, sports and fitness, and travel. He was warm and gregarious; a friend to all who knew him. He was universally respected by subordinates, peers and superiors as an outstanding Naval Officer who cared for his people, his job and his country. His personal awards included the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. He is survived by his parents, Martin and Linda; his sister, Martina; his wife, Jennifer; and their dogs, Jasper and Logan.