SPOKANE, Wash.-- The Department of Defense announced Thursday that a Spokane Marine died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Jacob M. Hess, 22, died Jan. 1, 2014, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Hess was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Leaders with the Spokane Public School District said Hess attended North Central High School. He graduated in May 2009. He transferred to North Central High School in 2008 from Kubasaki High School in Japan.
Hess enrolled at Spokane Falls Community College in 2009 according to school officials.
Spokane Mayor David Condon issued the following statement about the loss of Marine Sgt. Jacob M. Hess:
“Spokane is saddened today by the loss of Marine Sgt. Jacob M. Hess of Spokane who died while serving his country in Afghanistan,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “We are grateful for the brave and selfless sacrifice Sgt. Hess made for our freedom and offer our deepest condolences to his family.”
Condon knows Hess’ mother through the Red Cross. His mother, Keirsten Lyons, is Director of Regional Service to the Armed Forces according to Inland Northwest Red Cross officials.
“Today it is our turn to stand as a community behind Keirsten and her family as she has done so many times before for others in Spokane,” added Condon.
Teammates and coaches of the former standout soccer player were saddened by the news. “He was definitely one of a kind and it showed, you know, everyone in the league recognized him,” said Nathan Pelton. “It had a lot to do with the way he treated people and the friendships. I mean, he wasn’t as much of a vocal guy, but he just had a way with everyone. You know everyone liked him, no one hated him, everyone respected him and he was just a great guy.”
"He was very skilled," said former coach Mica Lamb. "What made him a great player really wasn't his skills, it was his tenacity."
Military Representatives said Hess had already earned numerous medals and honors over his short career. They include the Global War on Terrorism and National Defense Service Medals. He also earned a Good Conduct Medal.
There are two more honors that were in the process of being approved and will now be awarded posthumously. Those include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.