Married with two; 10 years in. The day after the DoD press release, local media can be counted on to start filling in details. But it is the original DoD announcement that establishes the basics: When and where did he died, exactly how to spell his name and a few other things.

        Name: Jesse J. Grindey
        Hometown: Hazel Green, Wisconsin
        Rank: Staff Sergeant
        Service: United States Army
        Combat theater: Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan

We know that he died two days ago, on Monday. We know that Jesse will arrive in Dover mid-afternoon today. But we don’t know what happened. Sometimes the initial release says “improvised explosive device” or “small arms fire”, but this time just that he “died”. And now two press reports says something about an army investigation.

The duration of this conflict demands a lot of our guys and the nature of counter-insurgency makes them especially vulnerable. Three weeks ago some Korans that had been used to smuggle messages inside a prison were accidentally disposed of by burning, which set off country-wide rioting. And two days before Jesse died, another staff sergeant like Jesse in nearby location lost his grip and killed 16 innocents.

But those things really don't matter – the glory of Jesse's service rises from our great cause, not the way he died*. Europeans came to the New World where we created what has become the oldest constitutional republic. We set an example of Democracy and Capitalism. And we gained the strength to enable us to return to the oldest parts of the Old World to help establish liberty and justice for all.

The weather here in northeast Illinois is softening. I look forward to a nice motorcycle ride to honor a great American war hero from a small town in southwest Wisconsin.



by Vicki Warne (Anderson)


Jesse died 9 days ago and I understand that the arrival escort went well:  35 fire trucks and 120 motorcycles.  Tomorrow I travel to Hazel Green for the wake and funeral mass.  I'm in the middle of a cold -- haven't gotten more than two hours of sleep at a time for three days now -- and it is going to rain all the two days.  So I will pack-up all my drugs and take the car.  After all, as Eric Kuhn is wont to say, it's not about the ride.




 Friday -- Church

Friday -- Cemetery


Also, another photographer was given full access and he captured some great images.

112 pictures by Don Rielly







*I have since learned that he died of "natural causes".