Saturday, August 06, 2011

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Willits, Calif.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman was assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit; died Aug. 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.

Jesse made it known he wanted to become a SEAL during his second summer working as a seasonal firefighter for California's forestry department. He even trained in his off time with an ex-SEAL to prepare.

He was a hard worker who shared a love of hotrods with his father and older brother, and did odd jobs at an automotive repair shop in his hometown to learn how to build and repair cars.

Despite being a leader on his fire crew and having a good career ahead of him as a firefighter, he made it clear becoming a SEAL was his passion.

He graduated from Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill, in October 2005 then reported to the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, MD. After completing that training, Pittman went to Basic Underwater Demolitian/SEAL training in March 2006. He graduated from SEAL training and reported to the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Center at Coronado, CA. From there he went to the Naval Special Warfare Training Center Detachment at Kodiak, AK, then returnd to the NSW Advanced Training Center at Coronado, CA in January 2007.

In April of the same year he reported to a West Coast based SEAL team. His awards include: The Joint Service Commendation Medal with a "V" device for Valor, two Navy Commendation Medals, The Combat Action Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Rifle Marksmanship Medal and the Pistol Marksmanship Medal.

Such a sweet smile that could light up a room. I will always remember days in school he brought smiles when I felt down. Your forever in my heart.. Thank you for all you have done. "Gone but Never Forgotten." Much Love!
— Tanya W

Never short on smiles or odd ball jokes. A one in a million guy with the kind of attitude and work ethic that makes his community proud. Could never have a bad day around Jesse, anyone who knew him knows that he could squeeze a smile out of a rock. What a great guy. Thoughts and prayers are with The Pittman family, Thanks to them for helping to mold, not just a model American, but a model human being.
— JP Carson

Went to A school with Jesse at Fort Meade. He was one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. He wanted to be a SEAL and nothing was going to stop him. America is blessed to have had such a person serving in her armed forces. Aside from that he had a great sense of humor and was an extremely friendly person. A real joy to be around. My heart goes out to the Pittman family.
— Cale B.

Pittman graduated from Willits High School in 2002 and worked in 2003 and 2004 as a seasonal firefighter with Cal Fire before joining the Navy. His father, Terry Pittman, is a heavy equipment operator with Cal Fire.

Parents, Terry Pittman and his wife, Ida, were reportedly out of state Monday and Tuesday to claim their son's remains at a military ceremony. "He could barely speak," Brown said of his Tuesday phone conversation with Terry Pittman, who he supervises.

Chris Wilkes, who co-owned an automotive repair shop in Willits, said Jesse did odd jobs at the shop during his high school years to learn the trade. He said Jesse, his older brother and his father shared an interest in diesel performance and hot rods.
"(Jesse) was fun to have around," Wilkes said, describing him as friendly, smart, "super respectful" and a hard worker.

Jesse continued to visit the automotive repair shop after graduating from high school while he worked for Cal Fire, according to Wilkes, and had told Wilkes he planned to leave firefighting to become a Navy SEAL.

Wilkes said he advised Jesse against it because he had a good career and "the odds are next to none" that he would have passed the specialized training.

"I was just goofing around with him; I told him he watched too much TV. And he went out and did it," Wilkes said. "We were extremely proud of him."

Wilkes described a kind of awe at realizing that all the time they had spent with Jesse "an elite person" had been among them.

"He was just a good man," Wilkes said. "He was amazing."

Cal Fire Capt. Ken Azevedo supervised Jesse during the two summers he spent as a seasonal firefighter at Cal Fire's Leggett station.

"He was an inspiration to the whole crew when it came to physical fitness, endurance and morale," Azevedo said. "He was a great person and a great firefighter, and he strived to get everybody up to his own level."

Jesse made it known he wanted to be a Navy SEAL during his second summer with Cal Fire, according to Azevedo, and literally went "the extra lap" to get himself physically ready, even training with a former SEAL during his off-hours.

"He boosted the morale of the entire crew," he said. "The guys were in the best physical shape that year because of him."

Azevedo remembers Jesse's sense of humor and his need for excitement, saying, "I think firefighting was not enough excitement for him.

"He's going to be missed by everybody. We were so proud of him when he got on as a SEAL, and this is devastating for the guys," Azevedo said.

"He liked to be challenged, and I think that challenge is what drew him to both of those careers," his friend Chris Wilkes told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When he told me he wanted to be a Navy SEAL, I told him he had been watching too much TV. But he said, `No, I can do that.'"

August 17, 2011
You will be missed my friend. Our prayers go out to your family and Teams.~ Jennie Baumann, La Mesa, California

August 15, 2011
Jessie, You have touched all our hearts. We will miss you. A job well done, know that you and your family are loved. ~ Wilma Villa, Paris, Texas

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman was killed in action on 8/6/11.

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