Jesse Melton III – Captain, United States Marine Corps

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

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

Captain Jesse Melton III, 29, of Randallstown, Maryland, died September 9, 2008, while supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

The Pentagon said a Randallstown Marine has been killed in Afghanistan.

Captain Jesse Melton III, 29, died Tuesday supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan.

He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Melton was working with a team helping to train members of the Afghan National Army when a roadside bomb exploded, killing him, another Marine officer, a member of the U.S. Navy and an Afghani interpreter, said his mother, Janice Chance.

He told his mom in March that he didn't have a good feeling about his upcoming tour in Afghanistan.

“He said, ‘I may not come back home,'” Chance said. “I kind of cried when he first told me that, but he said, ‘You know what, mom? It's a win-win situation. If I leave, I'm going to be with the Lord.”


Captain Jesse Melton with sister, Captain Jenine Melton

He was a 1996 graduate of Randallstown High School, where he played lacrosse and baseball. He joined the Marines after his freshman year in college.

“Jesse always wanted to be a Marine. He looked at them as men of honor, as men of integrity who kept their word,” Chance said.

Melton's sister is a captain in the U.S. Army. She said her brother was someone she looked up to.

“I admired my brother. I admired his strength. I admired his dedication. I admired his integrity and his selfless service,” Captain Jenine Melton said.

“He was someone I definitely looked up to, who I idolized. He was like a father to me,” said his brother, Joshua Melton.

The family said that taking care of his men was what mattered most to him. He told them he would give his life to save one of them.

“He said, ‘I just want you to remember I'm ready to die for my country and my men … If there's something I need to do, I'll volunteer to do it,'” his mother recalled.

“He said, ‘If anything happens to me, don't blame President Bush. Don't blame the government.' He said, ‘This was my choice. I could have gotten out of it, but I believe there was a mission God wanted me to do, and I'm going to do it,'” Chance said.

Captain Jesse Melton will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine Captain From Maryland Dies in Afghan Bombing


Captain Jesse Melton III was on his second combat tour

Marine Corps Captain Jesse Melton III told his mother he had a bad feeling about his March deployment to Afghanistan, a sense that he would either be wounded or not return home to Maryland from his second combat tour.

Janice Chance said she asked her son if he wanted to try to get out of going, but he never considered it.

“He told me he would be wounded or wouldn't be coming home,” Chance said. “He said, ‘If I don't, I win, I'm going to be with the Lord.' ”

The 29-year-old Randallstown native was killed Tuesday in Parwan province when the Humvee in which he was riding hit a makeshift bomb as he traveled between an outpost and his home base, his family and Defense Department officials said. Melton was assigned to the 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, and had been stationed in Okinawa, Japan, officials said.

His family described him as a Christian, devoted to his family, religion and the Marines who served under him. The Marines offered him the chance to serve his country after he had been deeply involved at Colonial Baptist Church, with youth ministries and missionary work.

“He was a servant leader. He served his men; he wanted to make sure his Marines were well taken care of,” Chance said. “He said, ‘I'm single and I have no children. I would take a bullet for my Marines if I have to.' ”

Melton graduated in 2000 from Messiah College, where he served in the Marine Corps Reserve and completed officer candidate school, before he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He served a tour in Iraq in 2005 and two tours in Okinawa before his deployment to Afghanistan, where he helped train soldiers in the Afghan army and patrolled villages.

“I'm going to remember his intoxicating smile, his pleasant attitude and positive spirit,” said his sister, Army Captain Jenine Melton, who said her older brother inspired her to join the military.

She said that they and their brother Joshua struggled after their parents divorced but that keeping active in church kept them from trouble.

“We were nerds, literally,” Melton said.

The experience drove her brother to want to help others and to find a career with honor, the chance to lead and fight for the underdog, she said.

“It's painful,” Melton said. “At least I know he's in a better place. He's gone to glory.”

OWINGS MILLS – Marine Captain Jesse Melton III had a dream this past March that he would die in Afghanistan.

His sister then had a dream he would die in an explosion, and his mother soon had a similar dream.

“He told me, ‘Mom, I’m either going to die or come home wounded,’ ” said Melton’s mother, Janice Chance.

“He said, ‘I’m ready to die for my country, and whatever happens, it is in the Lord’s hands.’ ”

Six months later, Melton, 29, died in Afghanistan when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

“I was just waiting for the Marines to come to my door,” she said.

“I think God sent him that dream to prepare him, prepare us, for this.”

Melton was returning from training Afghan soldiers in the Parwan province Tuesday when the attack occurred. He died in the helicopter ride to a military hospital, Chance said.


Another Marine, First Lieutenant Nicholas Madrazo, 25, of Bothell, Washington — who was friends with Melton — also died in the attack.

He is the fourth Maryland native to die this year in Afghanistan, a country where military officials have said violence is escalating and will need more troops in the near future. Fourteen Marylanders have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

Even as the Owings Mills family and community mourn the loss of a man described as selfless, generous and deeply religious, family members and friends say they take solace in that Melton died doing what he loved.

“He knew what was going on overseas and that didn’t stop him. He said joining the Marines was his choice, and he wanted to change the world,” Chance said.

Melton joined the Marines as reservist in 1997, and went to officer candidate school three years later after graduating from Messiah College in Pennsylvania with a degree in mass communications.

Melton was described as a natural leader and caring of those younger than himself.

The eldest of three children, Melton helped his mother care for the family after his father left following a divorce.

“In elementary school, he would make sure we crossed the street OK, and helped us with our homework,” said Melton’s younger brother Joshua.

“In a way, it foreshadowed what he would do in the military.”

Chance said her son’s military comrades told stories of him buying hot food for hungry Marines, and offering rides to younger Marines — even as drill sergeants were irked at the kind treatment to boot camp recruits.

“Even as a young boy, he was always a gentleman,” said Sheila Jessup, 63, a fellow member of Colonial Baptist Church, where Melton was active in youth programs and even taught Sunday school.

“You worry about kids in their teen years and being attracted to the streets. But he was always determined not to bring shame to his mother, and he never did.”

Melton, who was not married and had no children, also had served a tour in Iraq. His younger sister is an Army Captain.

Chance is hoping to bury her son next week in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but has been told it could take several weeks.

Chance said she called Governor Martin O’Malley’s office, which told her they would do what they could to speed up Melton’s burial.

When the family holds Melton’s funeral service, a passage from the second Book of Timothy will serve as a final thought on the Marine captain: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

“He found the good fight, and he finished his race with faith in God,” Chance said.

“That gives me such hope and pride.”

Services have been scheduled for a Owings Mills Marine who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Marine Captain Jesse Melton the Third died Tuesday; killed by a roadside bomb, that took the lives of four others.

His family says Captain Melton will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington Virginia on Wednesday afternoon.

“A man who loved his country and loved his family and willing to sacrifice his life for his country and family and his marines all he cared about was marines being treated fairly getting their props they deserve.” His mother Janice Chance told ABC 2

Marine Captain Jesse Melton III had always been willing to make sacrifices for his country.

“He would say, ‘I am willing to take a bullet for my country and my men,”‘ said his mother, Janice Chance of Owings Mills. “If I need to give my life for my Marines, I will take a bullet for them.”

On Tuesday, the 29-year old Randallstown native gave the ultimate sacrifice when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in the Parwan province in Afghanistan, killing him and four others.

Captain Melton graduated from Messiah College, a Christian university in Grantham, Pennsylvania, in 2000 with a degree in communications. After his first year at Messiah, he joined the Marine Reserve and completed officer candidate school in his junior year. He served one tour of duty in Iraq in 2005 and two tours in Okinawa, Japan, before he was deployed to Afghanistan.

Despite having completed a previous combat tour, Captain Melton was uneasy about being deployed to Afghanistan.

“He said ‘I don't have a good feeling about this. I'm either not going to come back home or I'm going to come back injured,”‘ said Ms. Chance. “But he told me if something happens to him, not to bash President Bush, not to bash this country. He said ‘I choose this. This is my decision.”‘

Captain Melton's family describes him as a man of great faith. Before college he was devoted to his church. After his parents divorced the congregation of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown helped raise him, family members said. Captain Melton's father is deceased.

“I wanted to be like him, I truly wanted to emulate my brother,” said his sister, Army Captain Jenine Melton. “In the absence of a father in our household he served as a father to my brother and I.”

Jenine Melton said her brother's service to his country inspired her to join the Army, and inspired both her and her brother, Joshua Melton, to pursue degrees in communication. Jenine has served two tours of duty in Iraq and will serve a third in June of next year.

“He was a man of honor, dedication and selfless service. He joined the military because he truly wanted to make a difference,” said Jenine Melton.

Captain Melton will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are pending.

In recent months, Army Sergeant Ryan P. Baumann of Great Mills and Army Lieutenant Colonel James J. Walton of Rockville have died in Afghanistan. The total number of military deaths from Maryland is 84.

NOTE: Captain Melton's funeral services will be held at 3 P.M. at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, 17 September 2008.

‘Servant Leader' Is Buried at Arlington
Md. Marine Credited With Devotion to Faith, Family and Troops

Marine Corps Captain Jesse Melton III was remembered as a man of faith and devotion who would have taken a bullet for his fellow Marines and who helped others and worked for the greater good.

Melton died thousands of miles from his native Maryland, but his journey ended yesterday with his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Melton, 29, of Randallstown, Mary;and, died September 9 when the Humvee in which he was riding hit a makeshift bomb in Afghanistan's Parwan province, according to the Defense Department and family members.

Before his deployment to Afghanistan in March, Melton told his mother that he had a feeling he would be wounded or killed. She asked whether he wanted to avoid going, but he didn't consider it, despite that he might not return.

“He said, ‘If I don't, I win. I'm going to be with the Lord,' ” Janice Chance told The Washington Post last week.

Hundreds of mourners filled dozens of cars and trekked to the cemetery after a funeral at Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown. Melton's family and friends followed a Marine Corps band west on Bradley Drive and pivoted onto the south side of the cemetery's Section 60.

Church pastor Robert Anderson addressed the mourners, calling Melton “our brother” and reciting, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

A man identified by cemetery officials as an assistant pastor then said: “We thank you for this young man's life and this young man's legacy.”

Seven riflemen fired three shots each into the afternoon air, and a Marine bugler played taps. A folded flag was handed to Melton's mother, who accepted it from Captain Kendrick Gaines and returned his salute.

Melton was the 502nd member of the military to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and buried at Arlington.

Relatives described him last week as a devoted Christian and family member. He was very involved in his church, working with youth ministries and on missionary work.

Melton, who had served in the Marine Corps Reserve since 1997, graduated in 2000 from Messiah College in Pennsylvania and that year went on active duty. He was promoted to Captain in April 2005 and served in Iraq that year. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Okinawa, Japan.

He helped train soldiers in the Afghan army and patrol villages.

“He was a servant leader,” his mother said. “He wanted to make sure his Marines were well taken care of. He said, ‘I'm single and I have no children. I would take a bullet for my Marines if I have to.' ”

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley ordered that flags in the state be flown at half-staff yesterday in memory of Melton.


Janice Chance, right, mother of Marine Capt. Jesse Melton III, salutes Captain
Kendrick Gaines after he handed her a folded flag during the Arlington burial.

DATE OF BIRTH: 11/13/1978
DATE OF DEATH: 09/09/2008



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