Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Cpl. Jesse L. Thiry

23, of Casco, Wisconsin.
Thiry died due to injuries received from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on April 5, 2004.

By way of introduction, my name is Hector E. Marcayda, formerly a Marine Corps Infantry Officer with more than 15 years of service to our nation. More importantly, I had the pleasure and honor of serving with Cpl Jesse Thiry during my year-long tenure as the Company Commander, Combat Instructor Company, Quantico, Virginia – Jesse's first unit prior to joining the decorated 5th Marine Regiment. The heart-wrenching news of Jesse's ultimate sacrifice was difficult to accept, in light of the fact that he represented the third Marine with whom I shared a personal and professional relationship and were casualties of the current conflict in Iraq. What follows is a brief e-mail capturing my thoughts of a Marine warrior who loved his nation, his Corps, and the individual Marines with whom he served. Please share it with those who knew and loved Jesse.

Jesse arrived at our instructor company as did many other Marines; young, eager, willing, and imbued with the Marine ethos of service to our nation. He was assigned to a platoon whose professional reputation was legendary: led by a superb Marine Captain with the support of a hand-selected group of non-commissioned officers whose very mission was to mentor young Marines like Jesse. The speed with which Jesse assimilated all aspects of his new assignment as an "apprentice-instructor" was genuinely remarkable. His eagerness to learn his trade coupled with his intuitive grasp of tactics made him a logical choice as a future instructor of junior officers. Indeed, Jesse felt very comfortable speaking to any Marine, regardless of rank or position – a genuine gift for a Marine so junior in status. He quickly earned the respect and admiration of the company leadership, and was groomed for a leadership role within the platoon.

I would like to close with one memorable moment which captures Jesse's commitment and devotion. During one of our many field exercises in support of the hundreds of junior officers which Jesse and many other Combat Instructors (CI) were training, the day was particularly cold and rainy in Quantico, Virginia. As was my custom to take any opportunity to talk to my young enlisted Marines, I quickly noticed that Jesse was the only instructor who appeared ambivalent to the weather and was not wearing any of the typical cold-weather gear. Surprised and intrigued, I approached him and asked if he was cold. Jesse's response – and one I will never forget - was immediate and genuinely candid, "...well, sir, my love for the field and these motivated Marines keeps me warm and dry..." And with the end of that statement he walked away, located a group of Marine Lieutenants and continued his instruction. That very spirit is what Jesse took with him into harm's way. It served him well.

It had been my honor to know and serve Jesse. And finally, as Jesse stands guard on his final post, you can rest assured that he is proudly occupying the high ground overlooking and protecting his home town. I miss him terribly.

Semper Fidelis,
Hector E. Marcayda

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"Don't know where to start so here it goes but one thing is for sure the day you left us was my worst day ever in life.4/05/04! Ive never fully recovered from that day and miss you every day since but we talk every day and I know your with me. You were way to young to leave this world but accept that's what you wanted to do in life at the same time. You were my best friend as well as my role model. I love you till the day I die and will be more happy because when its my time to go I will see you again. I just hope you know I pray every day for your strength to get me through another day because its not easy no matter the length of time since you left me. Till me meet again BEST FRIEND.....OOOOOOrah"
Big brother Scott2Naughty of Green Bay Wi United States

Brent Michael of Winchester VA

"My mother is also the daughter of Sharon and Gerald Thiry. I've heard a lot about Jessy but never looked him up or read his story. I am also a marine an I am stationed in 29 palms California an I have a tremendous about of respect for the man that he was and I hope to be like him as I continue my career in the core."
Brandon of 29 palms California

"Miss you bro."
David Pagliughi of Virginia

"I met Jesse at Austin Hall, the enlisted club at TBS in Quantico. He was always happy, always had a smile, and was very sweet! I will never forget the day I found out about his untimely death! Great memories with Jesse, Rankin and Childers!"
Cari of Ankeny, Iowa

"Jesse, I know how much you are loved and missed. Rest in peace, Marine!"
Jan Goldman Manshack

"On thursday you will be gone for 8 years. I know i really don't know you but you sound like a good guy and i wish i could have met you."
Sam of Luxemburg,WI

"I gone on this site a couple of times, to read the numerous comments that people have put on here. Thank you very much for the wonderful comments. Jesse will be missed terribly. I can't believe it's been so long that he's been gone, but it seems like it just happened. I will always remember your donald duck voices you did and many others. You made everyone smile, no matter where we were. I love you and there is not a day that goes by that i dont think of you."
lil sis of luxemburg - Trisha

"Jesse - Its the 2009 Memorial Day weekend and you're on my mind. It seems like a lifetime ago when I saw you last in Quantico. A lot has changed since then. Brother, above all other things, do you know what stood out the most about you? Your heart. By heart I mean your commitment, resolve, and drive toward the things that you believed in. Although parts of you seemed to change by the week, (remember when you bought all those cowboy clothes with Rankin and Boom-Boom and then never wore them again because we harrassed you so much?) your guts were timeless. You proved that when you insisted on going out to the fleet in a time of war when you could have easily kicked back until your enlistment was done. Not many people would have done that. Jesse - you gave everything you could give, your very life, for your country and your fellow Marines. This, and every, Memorial Day I will look to you and your sacrifice to remind me of, and to stir in me, the kind of honor, courage, and commitment that you demonstrated in your death.
Greater love hath no man then this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13)."
Rollins, J. Sgt/USMC of Arlington, TX

"April 21, 2009
To the family of Cpl. Jesse L. Thiry:
Jesse gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Hey Jesse,
I've been wanting to talk to you for a while. It's been so long since we made the trip out to Wisconsin to see you one last time. Remember the time our Sgt's made us grapple to see who would stand firewatch? Ha ha. We were such boots. And you beat me too. But don't worry, I'll get you back one day.
Well I gotta run. Know that I always think of you and I miss you everyday.
Semper Fi brother"
Sgt. Pagliughi of Wakefield, VA

"It's hard to belive that you've been gone for 5 years now, it seems like yesterday that we lost you Jesse. Not a day goes by that we don't think of you and miss you. This family is big but without you it seem so incomplete. I hope that one day we will meet up again, we are always so proud of you. Take care of us and the rest of the family, until we meet again. Love you forever and always."
Little sister of Luxemburg

"Jesse Thiry and Family,
Never forgotten."
AFL of B.I, Wa.

"First a message to Jesse's family it's only been a short while since jesse died but it feels like ten years ago. But I still remember the good times like the road trip me jesse and larry had right before we deployed. and getting to meet all of you was a great honor. I'll never forget jesse or any of you. if ever you want to write me feel free to e-mail me at MAS0341@hotmail.com"
Mario Salas of Whitehall MI

"To the family of:Jesse L. Thiry I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"To the Family of Jesse Thiry,

My mother is the daughter of Sharon and Gerald Thiry. I remember the day I heard about Jesse, on the news. I never got the chance to meet him, or get to know him. I wish I had. For the past couple of years I have collected newspaper articles and read as much as I could find, to try to find out what kind of a person he was. He sounded like an amazing man. I wish I could have met him. I am so so sorry for your loss."
Nicole of Wisconsin

"To the family of Jessy Thiry: I don't know how to start. I met Jesse right before we deployed to Okinawa, I don't know if he ever told you but he wanted to be a Hospital Corpsman once he finished his contract with the Marine Corps. He was always talking to me and asking me questions about my job, he always told me he wanted to be like me, he wanted me to take him to see the recruiter when we were back to the US. I still remember him and take him with me in my heart. He was a great Marine and I am sure he would be an excelent Corpsman. I've been trying to send you a message for a long time and I just found this site, I wanted to tell you I was blessed the day I met Jesse because he was a great friend, a kind person and one of the best Marines I ever met. I hope you get to read this message. I only have one picture of him and I would love to have a picture of him and his family if you don't mind, he will always be my hero. Please, if there is anything I can do for you, let me know. God bless your heart.
"Doc Al"
Petty Officer AlcalaEsparza of Branch Medical Clinic Miramar, San Diego California

""Even though i didn't know jesse as well as i would of liked to, i still appreciate all that he did for our country! Jesse was a great friend to my brother Sean and i would like to thank Jesse so much! i do miss him dearly! i say prayers for Jesse and the other soilders out there that have risked thier lives to save our country! i'm so proud of you jesse! i miss you jesse!""
Tasha Mills of Luxemburg, WI

"To the Family of Cpl. Jesse Thiry:
We have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 6/20/05, 111 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put Cpl. Thiry's name on one of them. We have called our display "Arlington MidWest." It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email martypres33@yahoo.com.

We invite you to come to visit Arlington MidWest. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them." Anonymous"
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI


"To the family of Jesse L. Thiry:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"4/5/05: To the family and friends of a great Marine. Thank you for your son's sacrifice. Thank you for rearing such a man. Not every man can become a Marine, and not every family can find peace and assurance in burying them. I pray you are such a family and that you too, will find strength and purpose until your mission here on this earth is finally complete. My prayers are with you on this day. May God keep you, always. Semper Fi dear Marine Family."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"I will never forget what you did for this country. From the day you joined the Marines until the day you had to leave us. You will always be in my heart, and may God take care of you until we meet again. You are my hero Jesse. You always will be."
Your cousin Josh of Casco, WI

Thanks so much for giving up your life, so we can be free. I hope to see you later in life, i miss you. Semper Fi."
Your Cousin, Zak of Casco, WI

"To the family of Jesse, I am so very sorry for you loss. My husband Jesse Juarez is a Cpl. with Charlie Co. 1/5 and every day he was in Iraq was of course filled with worry and fear. I thank God every day he returned home to me, and that day he and his fellow Marines returned home was a joyous one, but it was also very sad. I wish every single Marine could have returned home to their families. My husband attended the memorial service today for your son and the other fallen Marines, and when he came home he told me just how sad it was, especially to see the families of these fine men. I can't begin to imagine the pain your family is going through, please know that you are always in my prayers.
To Jesse, All gave some, some gave all. You gave the ultimate sacrifice and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did for me and the rest of our country. You have my upmost respect, as every person in uniform does, and my greatest appreciation. You and your fellow Marines who did not make it home will always be in my heart, and in my prayers. You are my hero. Thank you."
Randi of Camp Pendleton, California

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"First of All, I would like to Thank Everyone who has wrote messages, sent cards, and provided support to my family during this time. It is greatly appreciated more than words can express.

It has been really hard with Jesse's death, but I know Jesse is looking down and helping us everyday to get through it.

I would like to say "THANK YOU JESSE and FELLOW SOLDIERS" for your inselfishness, dedication, and sacrifices you made by going to IRAQ in order to insuring our freedom, security and safety back in the United States.

Second, it has been a great honor having you as my brother. I'm PROUD OF YOU. I LOVE U, MISS U, and WILL NEVER FORGET YOU. You will always be in my HEART and I will REMEMBER and CHERISH the memories that we had together.

Until we meet again. I LOVE U, MISS U, AND I'M PROUD OF U.......

Your "Big Sis""
of Luxemburg, WI

"Corporal Thiry, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To the family of Jesse.

I am the uncle of Lance Cpl. Matthew Serio, one of the three Marines that fell with your son on that fateful day. My sincerest condolences for your loss. I know there are no words to ease the grief both our families are dealing with. Always remember that they went down fighting together. God bless."
Patrick Serio of Hadley, MA

"We love you more than you will ever know and we know you are in a better place. I hope everyone is getting on the best they can and we send our love and prayers to all. Just knowing jesse was a blessing,each time you talked to him or saw his face it was a blessing. We will miss you more than you know. We love you! SEMPER FI."
patrick and heather of green bay, wi

"I am one of the Marines who was stationed with Jesse in Quantico, VA for over two years. I have just returned from his funeral in Wisconsin. It is still hard to believe that he is gone and is never coming back, but he will live in the memories of those who served with him. Jesse was an extremely likeable person who would go to great lengths to try and help his friends out. Even when something went wrong and you were mad at him, you couldn't stay angry for long because of his personality. He would never hold a grudge at you, no matter what you did. His death touched everyoned in Quantico who knew Jesse."
Zavyalov, D. Cpl./USMC/0351

"To the family and friends of Corporal Jesse L. Thiry,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort
in love's everlasting connection.

There are many loving and caring Americans from all over the United
States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has
made for our Freedom. In the Support section of this web site you
will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial
time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a
quilt to the next of kin. Please register so we can send you
our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Member Of Marine Comfort Quilt group, and Proud Marine Mom"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"God's Blessings to the family of Jesse. Words cannot express the great sadness we all feel for your loss. You do have the memories of the happier times with you. No enemy can take that from you.
Thank you Jesse for your courage to fight for our nation."
Candy Knutson of Poynette, WI

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Jesse, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Jesse's Family:
There aren't words to express the grief we all feel for your loss. May God bless you and watch over you."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincere condolences. We share the same loss...the same pain. Our prayers are with you and we thank you for your child's bravery & sacrifice.

From the family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas KIA Iraq 12/28/2003"
Gloria Caldas (his mom) of San Antonio, TX

"I'm going to boot camp June 21 to be in the United States Marine Corps. I pray that I can live up the the legacy left behind by Jesse and other brave men like him. Semper Fidelis."
Donovan of Albany, GA

"Rest in Peace Tufelhunden,Semper Fi
The Taylors

"Thank you Jesse Thiry, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Cpl. Jesse Thiry:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Jesse for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Cpl. Jesse Thiry:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Jesse, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on