Sunday, January 10, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert, 20, of Fort Atkinson, Wis.

LCpl Meinert was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died Jan. 10, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

A Wisconsin Marine who was killed in Afghanistan was remembered in Racine WI, the town he grew up in, as a "quiet boy, but a good kid," who always aspired to be a Marine.

Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert was killed when he stepped on a landmine while serving with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, a family member said.

Military officials notified Meinert's family of his death on Sunday, the family member said. Family would be traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del., to receive Meinert's body.

Lance Cpl Meinert or "Slim," as he was known to his company mates, died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, according to Maj. Alan Crouch, public affairs officer for the Hawaii Marine base where Meinert was stationed. For such a young man, Meinert was a combat veteran, Crouch said. His deployment to Afghanistan in November was his second with his unit, which had returned just eight months earlier from an eight-month deployment to Iraq, he said.

Meinert was a radio telephone operator, one of the "more technically advanced" roles in his Marine unit, Crouch said. He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal and the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medals, he said.

Meinert, 20, was born and raised in Racine. He lived there until he was about 15, when he moved with his parents to Fort Atkinson. He graduated from Fort Atkinson High School in 2007. Meinert started the enlistment process when he was 17, while he was still in high school. He joined the Marines when he turned 18, the family member said.

Jeff Zaspel, principal at Fort Atkinson, says Meinert was a pleasant person involved in many activities, especially playing jazz music.

He graduated from recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif., and the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif., before being assigned to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Oahu.

Before Meinert went to Afghanistan he had served almost a year in Iraq, the family member said. He returned to the states, trained and was then deployed to Afghanistan. He had been in Afghanistan less than a month when he was killed.

Meinert was patrolling streets with other Marines when he stepped on the landmine, a family member said. He was wearing protective armor. Military officials said a Black Hawk helicopter transported Meinert to a hospital where he died from his injuries, the family member said.

Roberta Schulz, owner of Out of the Pan, said Meinert spent a quiet night dining at her restaurant last month with a small group of family and friends before returning to a military base in Hawaii. It was probably one of the last times he was together with his family here, Schulz said.

The dinner was Dec. 12. Meinert shipped out to Afghanistan Dec. 13. Schulz said she went to the restaurant the night Meinert was there to say goodbye. "I just remember when he left the restaurant I said, ‘thank you for what you're doing' and ‘come back safe,' " Schulz said.

Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert was killed in action on 01/10/10.

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