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Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert

Died January 10, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Fort Atkinson, Wis.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died Jan. 10 while supporting combat operations at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

Hawaii-based Marines killed in Afghanistan

By William Cole

Honolulu Advertiser via Gannett News Service

Two Kaneohe Bay-based Marines were killed over the weekend in separate incidents in southern Afghanistan, the first fatalities in a seven-month deployment by the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which left Hawaii in November.

Lance Cpl. Mark D. Juarez, 23, of San Antonio died Jan. 9 when a roadside bomb blast hit his vehicle in Helmand province, officials said.

The Pentagon also said Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert, 20, of Fort Atkinson, Wis., died Jan. 10 “while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.”

Juarez was killed in the blast along with Sunday Mirror reporter Rupert Hamer, Marine Corps officials said. Hamer was the first British journalist to die in Afghanistan.

The newspaper said its photographer and five other U.S. military people were wounded in the blast northwest of the town of Nawa, where the battalion of 1,000 Hawaii Marines and sailors is located.

“I told him, ‘Don’t go. It’s too dangerous over there,’ ” Juarez’s grandmother, Elida Flores, told a San Antonio TV station.

“He said, ‘Grandma, I want to go. I volunteered to go. And I’ll come back very soon.’ ”

Juarez leaves behind a 1-year-old son.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Meinert died in a bomb blast.

The Marine, whose nickname in his company was “Slim,” had played in his high school’s pep band. Meinert was a “very nice young man. Probably where he was involved the most was in the jazz band here at school,” Fort Atkinson High School principal Jeff Zaspel told the newspaper. Meinert participated in the concert, marching and jazz bands and was a member of the school’s chess club, the newspaper said.

According to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Meinert was a radio telephone operator assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Meinert joined the Marine Corps in July 2007, and reported to 1st Battalion in January 2008. He had previously deployed with the same battalion to Iraq, returning to Hawaii in March 2009.

Juarez was a small-arms repairman and technician, according to base officials. He joined the Corps in March 2007 and reported to the 1st Battalion in November 2007. He, too, had previously deployed with the 1st Battalion to Iraq.

The 1st Battalion Marines are in and around Nawa district farther south in Helmand province, which is a major poppy-producing region and in the heart of the Taliban insurgency. The Marines hope to choke off the opium trade that funds that insurgency.

The Pentagon announcement that two Hawaii Marines had been killed came with a correction. The Defense Department originally identified Lance Cpl. Mark A. Juarez of Bakersfield, Calif., as being killed. The Pentagon subsequently corrected the name, attributing the mistake to a “clerical error,” and said the correct family had been notified by Marine Corps officials.

Funeral services scheduled for Wis. Marine

The Associated Press

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. — Funeral services for a 20-year-old Marine killed in Afghanistan will be held Jan. 20 in Fort Atkinson.

Lance Cpl. Jacob “Jake” A. Meinert died Jan. 10 from injuries sustained when he stepped on or near a land mine in the Helmand province’s Nawa district.

He lived in Racine before moving to Fort Atkinson when he was 15. He joined the Marine Corps in July 2007 upon turning 18 and after graduating from Fort Atkinson High School.

He was on his second tour of duty, having already served an eight-month deployment in Iraq.

Meinert was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. He previously earned the National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal and the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medals.

Services are at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Fallen Marine remembered for his dedication to Corps

The Associated Press

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. — The young Wisconsin Marine killed by an explosive in Afghanistan was remembered at his funeral service for his passion and determination.

During a Jan. 20 service in Fort Atkinson, friends and family of Lance Cpl. Jacob Meinert recalled his love for the Marines, his positive attitude and strong ideals.

Fort Atkinson High School counselor Curt Brokmeier says Meinert couldn’t wait to serve his country and even arranged his classes to graduate early so he could join the Marines.

An artillery salute was fired by seven Marines outside St. Joseph Catholic Church after the service, followed by taps.

‘Instead of quoting history, I will be making it’

The Associated Press

Before he joined the Marines, Jacob A. Meinert wrote about anticipating the challenge and the self-respect it would yield, words that would later be included on a memorial card distributed at his funeral: “Courage allows the ordinary to become great. ... Some day, possibly very soon, instead of quoting history I will be making it.”

The 20-year-old from Fort Atkinson, Wis., died Jan. 10 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and had served in Iraq.

Meinert couldn’t wait to serve his country and even arranged his classes to graduate early from Fort Atkinson High School in January 2007 so he could join the Marines, counselor Curt Brokmeier said.

The tall, lanky teen with an infectious smile had played trombone in school and particularly enjoyed being part of the jazz band. Friends recalled how he loved attending rock concerts or going fishing and how he overcame a fear of heights to learn to jump out of planes.

Mary Lou Mijokovic, his great aunt, said Meinert embodied a Marine Corps motto: “the few, the proud, the Marines.”

Meinert is survived by his parents, three siblings and the family dog, Bosco.

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