Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert
20, of Fort Atkinson, Wis.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died Jan. 10 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
(Taken from www.journaltimes.com of Jan. 10, 2010)Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert's family is coping as best they can with his tragic death. The 20-year-old Racine native was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.
News of Meinert's death was reported to the family when two Marines arrived at their door around 1 p.m. that day.
"When you see two Marines coming - as a Marine mother, you're trained - to your door, you know what to expect," said mother Krista Edquist of Fort Atkinson.
Had Jake been only injured in the blast, Edquist said, she likely would have received just a telephone call. However, the knock on the door left no doubt what had taken place.
The entire family, including Meinert's siblings, was home at the time.
"It's unusual to have everybody home because, with two 18-year-olds, they're usually off working or off playing," Edquist said.
Sister Randi Meinert, who attends the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, was home on winter break and Meinert's other siblings, Larson Edquist and stepbrother Mitchell Edquist were there, as well.
Their mother said that, in some ways, having everyone home together helped, and the family is doing about as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
"You cry and you laugh at some of the things he used to do and then you cry again," Edquist said.
From an early age, Meinert seemed to be destined to serve in the armed forces.
"We always knew he was going to be a Marine," Edquist said, recalling that, as a young boy, he loved "playing with the little Army men."
According to the Marines, Edquist said, Meinert died after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) pressure plate while patrolling the streets in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, where he was stationed.
He reportedly died while being transported to a base via a Black Hawk helicopter.
Military officials have described Helmand and the neighboring Kandahar province as the heartland of the insurgency. Coalition forces have taken significant casualties in recent months in that southern section of Afghanistan.
A decorated veteran, Meinert was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal and the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medals.
His body was returned to American soil Tuesday evening. The casket will remain at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for at least a few days until it is transported to Wisconsin. Then, it will be taken to Fort Atkinson