Friday, July 16, 2010

Army Sgt. Jesse R. Tilton

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jesse R. Tilton, 23, of Decatur, Ill.

Sgt. Tilton was assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died July 16, 2010 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds sustained July 13 when insurgents attacked his unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with rifle, rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire.

Army Medic Jesse Tilton, who was pronounced dead Friday, was gravely injured while heroically tending to a fellow soldier during a battle in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday.

Julie Magana, Spc. Tilton's mother, was at her 23-year-old son's side at Landstuhl Army Medical Center shortly after he was taken off life support.

Spc. Tilton, a soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division, refused to leave the wounded soldier while they were under attack from small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, Magana said in a prepared statement. The injured soldier Spc. Tilton was tending suffered a fractured arm and leg. He is recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Magana, a veteran of the Illinois National Guard, was presented Spc. Tilton's Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge and Command Team Coin of Excellence for Selfless Service by the hospital commander.

Magana's sister, Linda Isaac, accompanied her to Germany. Sandra Muirhead of Cerro Gordo, Magana's other sister, was nearly overcome with emotion as she praised her nephew, whom she had cared for as a baby while her sister performed military duties. "Jess was a fine young man doing a very difficult job," Muirhead said. "We're so proud of him."

The grounds of Magana's home in Long Creek township is covered with American flags, after she requested that her fellow Macon County employees do so as a way to honor her son's memory.

"Sgt. Tilton's selfless service and dedication to his brothers on the battlefield are a true testimony to the paratrooper he was. He was severely wounded treating one of his fellow brothers," said 1st Lt. Jeffrey Conord, the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment Medic Platoon's leader. "I can't think of a greater sacrifice for one's nation and friend."

Tilton joined the Army on April 7, 2006, and attended basic training at Fort Sill, Okla. Tilton went on to attend Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he was trained as a medic. After completing training, Tilton was assigned to Fort Bragg, where he arrived Oct. 17, 2006, and joined 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

He deployed to Afghanistan with the unit from January 2007 to April 2008. Tilton stayed with the unit to deploy to Afghanistan again in August 2009.

Army Sgt. Jesse R. Tilton died on 7/16/10 of injuries sustained in the line of duty on 7/13/10.

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