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Ride of the Patriots In Memoriam

As we reflect on the times that have brought us together to commemorate and memorialize those who have fallen, remember that they gave their lives to protect and ensure our freedom now and forever. They fought for a noble cause. They stood to defend ever vigilant. They made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty. WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

“I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.” — Ronald Reagan

Hero: SSG Jesse “Hillbilly” Ault

Date of Birth: 2/18/1980

Date of Death: 4/9/2008

Approximately 2200 local time 9 April 2008, SSG Ault was driving the lead vehicle on a north bound mission just south of Baghdad, Iraq. This was to be his last mission and was a validation run for the unit’s replacements. He thought he saw something in the median, so he slowed to investigate. This is what the lead vehicle did. It led the way and ensured it was safe for the rest of the convoy to come through. As he slowed an EFP (Explosive Formed Projectile) detonated and pierced his armored Freightliner. SSG Ault was struck in the chest. He died before he could be MEDIVAC’d from MSR Tampa, halfway around the world from his wife, stepson, son and new born daughter.

SSG Jesse “Hillbilly” Ault deployed with Company E, 429 Brigade Support Battalion in 2007. Based out of Roanoke, VA, SSG Ault was not required to deploy when the unit got orders. He had completed his time in the military to include one tour to Iraq, where he met his wife. At the time Echo received orders his pregnant wife was a member of the unit. SSG Ault reenlisted in order to take his wife’s place so that she could stay home and care for their son and his stepson.

Good afternoon, my name is Betsy Ault. I will talk to you about my husband, Jesse Ault. I will make a very personal statement, and I ask that the media respect my wishes and not contact me, my family or friends after this.

I am here today to tell you about Staff Sergeant Jesse Ault. Jesse was a loving and dedicated father and husband and a brave and loyal Soldier.

Jess was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and grew up in Middleburg, West Virginia, and graduated from Tyler County High School.

He and his best friend, Travis, joined the U.S. Army before they even graduated from high school. Two months after graduation, they shipped off to basic training and ended up in Fort Bragg. Travis and Jesse were always together. Travis and Jesse were like brothers. After serving four years on active duty, Jesse and Travis moved to Virginia and joined the Virginia National Guard.

I met Jesse during annual training the summer of 2002. I was in the 229th Chemical Company, and he was in the 1710th Transportation Company. We were alerted that we may be deployed. Though we did not deploy, our units trained together during the next two years.

My maiden name is Allen, and the Army does everything in alphabetical order. So, Jesse was always in line behind me. We did a lot of things together in groups. One day, while standing in line, I turned to him and said, “When are you ever going to ask me out on a date…alone?”

The units were alerted in 2004 and combined and deployed as the 1173rd Transportation Company to Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq. You can say that we were dating each other when we were on deployment.

When Jesse met my son, Nathan, we were on a 5-day pass for Christmas. Though Jesse was quiet and shy, Nathan just crawled right up on Jesse’s lap. Jesse and Nathan became best buds then and there — it was instant.

Jesse loved Nathan, and after we returned from Iraq, he told me that he loved Nathan so much and wanted a baby of his own. We got married on the front steps of my father’s house, and not too long after that, Adam was born.

When Jesse found out he was going to have a son, he bought Jeff Gordon outfits and West Virginia gear for “his little man.”

Jesse loved all things University of West Virginia and Jeff Gordon. He cheered for the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Braves. He liked fishing and golf and loved to ride sleds down the hill with Nathan.

Jesse separated from the Guard after the deployment, but I was still serving when my unit was alerted in early 2007.

Jesse loved our family so much and saw how important it was for me to stay with my sons. He joined the National Guard again to take my place on the deployment.

The day he landed in Kuwait, I found out we were pregnant. He was allowed emergency leave to come home to see the birth of our daughter, Rachel, she is 4 months old.

He called me every day when he was in Iraq, even the day he died. He would always ask how his “little man” and “baby doll” were doing.

I want you to know Jesse Ault. When he was not in uniform, he was 100% family. That was what meant the most.

When he put on his uniform, he believed that he had a responsibility to his guys. He took his job seriously. He considered himself a leader and a protector.

Even when he was at home for the birth of his daughter, he worried that he wasn’t there to take care of his guys in Iraq.

The guys from Iraq called me to talk about Jesse, and I know that he meant a lot to the Soldiers and that he will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Thank you

Betsy Ault

“The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice!” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Hero: Spc. Stephan L. Mace

Date of Birth: 4/11/1988
Date of Death: 10/3/2009

Spc. Stephan L. Mace was a soldier in Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He was killed October 3, 2009 in Kamdesh, Afghanistan when his combat outpost was attacked by enemy insurgents. His final resting place is Arlington National Cemetery.

Stephan, of Purcellville, VA, a fun, active boy growing up, he possessed a love for dirt biking from an early age. It was nothing for him even at the age of 8 to go out and do a 40 mile ride. Sports of any kind kept him moving, basketball, football, it didn’t matter, he was passionate about sports. Stephan worked for a vet clinic and through the owners, he traveled several times to Africa. His other passions were history and his country. Deciding to enlist in the military, he obtained a G.E.D. so he could enlist. He entered the Army on January 17, 2008. This was his first deployment. He deployed on May 22, 2009.

Stephan at COP Keating, Afghanistan    

I am the mother of Stephan Mace, who was KIA at COP Keating on 10/3 along with 7 of his brothers.

My son was so proud that I was just about to complete my degree in Veterinary Technology and was planning on taking my boards in 1/10. As soon as I complete that task, I will be working on making sure our military is taken care of by its citizens. I escorted my baby home from Dover and landed at a local hometown airport in Leesburg, Va. When we arrived home, there were hundreds upon hundreds of people who came out to welcome him home. Along the nine mile route hundreds of people were holding flags and signs for my son. Every time somebody talks to me, one of my family members or friends, we remind them that they had the right to stand on the road with their flags for one reason and one reason only. Our military. I am hoping that my fight too will open the eyes of this country and cause them to start supporting the soldiers.

Thank you,

Vanessa Adelson

“The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.” — Ronald Reagan  

Hero: SGT Norman Emineth

Date of Birth: 6/13/1949
Date of Death: 5/22/1970

SGT Norman Emineth died of multiple fragmentation wounds received somewhere in Cambodia while serving with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Norman Emineth was born on June 13, 1949 and raised in Baldwin, North Dakota.

Norman was my second cousin. His dad and my grandmother on my dad's side were brother and sister. I never met him before he went to Vietnam/Cambodia, but I do remember going to the funeral home and graveside service. I guess that's what prompted me to take the assignment to the "Old Guard" in 1979.

Tom Heinz