Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Army Sgt. Jesse A. Ault

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jesse A. Ault, 28, of Dublin, Va.

Sgt. Ault was assigned to the 429th Brigade Support Battalion, Virginia Army National Guard, Roanoke, Va., died April 9, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered in Tunnis, Iraq, when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Wheeling Intelligencer -- BETHESDA — Ron Ault was working in the kitchen of his Bethesda home when the soldiers arrived at his door Thursday morning, bringing the news that his son, Jessie, had been killed Wednesday while on duty in Iraq.

“I was notified this morning,” Ron Ault said late Thursday. “It was a chaplain and another military personnel who came to the house, and they were very good. They don’t know what to do for you, either — they don’t want to make the visit.

“I looked out the window and saw them walking up the sidewalk, and you just get that thought,” he continued, his voice cracking with emotion.

Jessie Ault, 28, had been serving in Iraq with the Virginia National Guard for 10 months, but it wasn’t his first tour of duty there. His father said Jessie met his wife, Betsy, while both were serving a previous tour in the same unit. He was killed by a roadside bomb while traveling to northern Baghdad, his father said.

Jessie and Betsy Ault have a 15-month-old son, Adam, and a daughter, Rachel, who was born in January. Jessie also has a 10-year-old stepson, Nathan.

“He took Nathan in as his own,” Ron Ault said of Jessie. “They were just like a son and father.”

Ron said Jessie was able to come home for his daughter’s birth.

“That was the last time I got to see him,” Ron Ault said.

But it wasn’t the last time he heard from his son. Ron said Jessie called him at least once a month while serving overseas, and Jessie had made it a point to call Wednesday — Ron’s birthday — before leaving on the fatal trip.

Jessie called twice that day but didn’t reach Ron, who was in Pittsburgh with his wife, Jessie’s stepmother, and other family members.

“All I got was a message,” Ron lamented.

But Jessie also called Betsy in Virginia and had the opportunity to speak with his mother, who was there visiting her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Ron said he was grateful that his ex-wife and daughter-in-law both had the chance to speak with Jessie one last time.

Jessie was a graduate of Tyler Consolidated High School, where his father said he played football and baseball and “was an excellent student.” He said most of his son’s friends are from Middlebourne, where Jessie was raised for about 10 years.

Ron noted his son was on active duty in his wife’s place. After he served his first tour in Iraq, Jessie was discharged from the Guard. He took a job and settled in Virginia, where Betsy was from. Since Betsy still had time to serve in the Guard and was again set to return to Iraq, Jessie re-enlisted and took her place.

“He said, ‘Dad, I’ve got to do what’s best for my family.’ That’s just the way my son was — he would do anything for anybody.”

Ron said his son’s tour of duty was nearly complete when he was killed. He said his son’s unit was set to return to Virginia on Mother’s Day, May 11.

Army Sgt. Jesse A. Ault was killed in action on 4/9/08.

No comments: