Jesse Daniel Tillery – Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense

December 4, 2006

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Corporal Jesse D. Tillery, 19, of Vesper, Wisconsin, died December 2, 2006, from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq.Tillery was assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

For further information in regard to this release the media can contact the 2nd Marine Division public affairs office at (910) 450-6575.

5 December 2006:

A Wisconsin Marine killed in Iraq was fascinated with the military from childhood and had two brothers serving with the Army – one also on active duty in Iraq and the other a veteran of two tours there, family friends say.

Lance Corporal Jesse D. Tillery, 19, of Vesper, Wisconsin, in rural Wood County, died Saturday from wounds suffered during combat in Al Anbar province, the Pentagon said in a statement Monday.

Martin Tillery, Jesse's father, said he was told his son was in a vehicle with three other Marines when an accident happened.

“We don't want to take attention away from the other crewmen that were injured,” he said. “Three other crewmen were injured and they should be remembered in our prayers.”

He said he was waiting for his children to return home before commenting further.

The Rev. Milt Van Natta, pastor and Tillery's Sunday school teacher at Baker Street Community Church, said Jesse had a sister, Joelle, and two brothers, James and Jared.

He said Jared is serving in Iraq, and James has served two terms and is due to go back next summer. James and Jared are in the Army.

“I think that's important because this family is sacrificing as much for this cause as any family I can think of,” Van Natta said. “I think that says a lot about the character of the family.”

Tillery graduated from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids in 2005, Principal Gus Mancuso said, declining further comment until Tuesday.

Tyler Hamel, 19, who also graduated from Lincoln in 2005 and now attends the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said he and Tillery were best friends from the second to sixth grades before losing touch somewhat in later years.

“I just knew that he was a great guy once you got to know him,” he said.

In their grade-school years, “most of the time we always played like war games that he made up,” Hamel said. “He had a lot of war action figurines and ships and stuff. He'd always have this imagination and made up new games.

“It was his dream to go in the military,” he said.

Tillery was assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Staff Sergeant Timothy Edwards, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune, said Tillery joined the Marines in August 2005 and was a crewman on an amphibious assault vehicle. Tillery, who was single, joined the 2nd Battalion in February and was deployed to Iraq in September, Edwards said.

“His unit is working in conjunction with Iraqi forces,” Edwards said.

Tyler Hamel's father, Dave Hamel of Wisconsin Rapids, remembered Tillery as the polite, conscientious youth he hired to help plant some trees and do haying on his farm when Tillery was just entering high school. He talked to Tillery again later when he was about to graduate.

Tillery, whose father is a truck driver, was “kind of quiet” but really polite, Hamel said. “He called me ‘Mr. Hamel.' He was really very polite compared to a lot of kids his age.”

Tillery is the 63rd Marine or soldier from Wisconsin to die in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded the country in March 2003 to topple President Saddam Hussein.

8 December 2006:

Lance Corporal Jesse Tillery of Vesper will be getting one of the highest honors for a fallen soldier.

Burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

A Spokesman for the Baker Street Community Church in Wisconsin Rapids tells us the 19-year-old will be laid to rest there on Wednesday, December 13, 2006.


His local funeral will be held at the church this Saturday, December, 9 at 3 pm.

Tillery died of injuries suffered in combat in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq last Saturday.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 05/18/1987
  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/02/2006

Would it be possible to add these two photos to Jesse’s ANC site?  I believe the Christmas wreath was placed at his site last Christmas on behalf of his family.  At the end of January 2007, I brought the wreath to our home as it was still so nice, stored it and then placed it again at Jesse’s site last Sunday.  I do not have the contact information for his family.  We met them for a few brief moments on Memorial Day 2006.  We visit Jesse’s grave each week as he is buried right next to Henry Linck who was our son’s squad leader.  I am hoping Jesse’s family will look at his site and see that he is remembered this Christmas and throughout the year.

Thank you so much.  Best, Gretchen Shoemaker.





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