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PFC Jesse M. Halling
401st MP Company, 720th MP Battalion
, 89th MP Brigade

Killed In Action ~ 7 June 2003 ~ Iraq


They Say,
our deaths are not ours,
they are yours,
they will mean what
you make of them.

They say,
we leave you our deaths,
give them some

Archibald MacLeish
poet and WWI

There is no contact information for the next of kin.

        Jesse M. Halling of Indianapolis, Indiana joined the Army in August 2002 and was assigned to the 401st MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas in February 2003. PVT Halling deployed to Iraq with the 401st on 23 March, and arrived in Iraq in early April 2003.

        On 7 June 2003 At approximately 0200 hours (2:00AM), the sophisticated and organized ambush of the Civilian Military Operations Center (CMOC) a former municipal building which was protected by a sand bag wall and rings of concertina wire, and the Iraqi/U.S. Army Police Station several buildings north, began. The attackers started with a fusillade of accurate small arms fire from concealed positions located on surrounding roof tops and a nearby berm. The attackers were probing the buildings defenses. The soldiers in the CMOC couldn’t identify any of the attackers positions because the street lights were on and they were unable to utilize their night vision goggles. The small arms fire stopped suddenly leaving only the sounds of howling dogs.

        The 401st MP Team ran from the Iraqi/MP Police Station to their vehicles in the street where they immediately started taking small arms fire. PVT Jesse M. Halling age 19, was the gunner in a three-man team of MP’s in the turret of a Humvee, while the driver, PFC Ronald Glass, and the team leader, SGT Angel Cedeño, sat below. PFC Glass said that PVT Halling was hammering away at the roof tops with his .50-caliber machine gun.

        The building was then hit by six to ten Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), aimed at the third floor where the stations defenders slept and took their breaks during the night hours. The RPG’s hit their targets within four feet of each other leaving impact craters and shrapnel in the building facade. One barely missed a window. Another projectile penetrated a metal door, flew across the room and exited through the back wall. After the RPG attack the defenders opened fire on the enemy positions.

        During the intense fire fight PVT Halling, without regard for his own personal safety, remained exposed in the gunners turret laying down suppression fire with the .50 caliber machine gun and squeezing off rounds from his M16 while reloading the machine gun. He was also identifying targets for PFC Glass and SGT Cederio. PVT Halling was struck by enemy fire in the jaw and mortally wounded. He received emergency treatment by medics at the scene before being helicoptered out to a hospital. He died in route.

        SGT Cedeño told the other soldiers later that Halling, by remaining at his post, had saved his life. He never came down from the turret, seeking shelter in the relative protection of the Humvee, as many soldiers might have done. "He never gave up," SSG James Ferguson, his squad leader said.

        The CMOC does its community outreach from the building, taking complaints about stolen vehicles, looting, or the fate of men missing or arrested, and answering questions from pensioners or former state employees about when they might get paid again. It is believed that some of the Iraqis who came seeking help during the day were attackers or provided them with information on the buildings internal layout and defenses.

        PVT Halling has been posthumously promoted to Private First Class and awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and Purple Heart Medal.


"He died doing what he wanted to do"
17 June 2003

          A 19-year-old Indianapolis soldier whom the Army calls a hero for staying at his post in an attack that killed him was laid to rest Tuesday.

Family and friends gathered at Speedway's St. Christopher Catholic Church for the funeral of Pfc. Jesse M. Halling, who was killed when his unit was attacked June 7 near a military police station in Tikrit, Iraq.

"From everything I heard, he went out on a limb for his friends, so we're proud of him," Halling's father, Al Halling, told RTV6 Tuesday.

Jesse Halling, a 2002 graduate of Ben Davis High School, was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart and has been nominated for a Silver Star Medal, the Army's third-highest medal for valor.   

Halling had ordered others in his 401st Military Police Company to take cover during the attack while he remained at his post, trying to reload his machine gun and firing an M-16 rifle until he was hit by shrapnel.

"He died doing what he wanted to do, and that was serve in the military and serve his country. Of course, that left a big void in our hearts," Al Halling said.

After Jesse Halling's death, the Army made special dog tags and gave them to his loved ones. The tags featured his name and the words "Iraq War Hero."

"The result of him being in that position saved many others -- they say at least three to five other soldiers' lives -- due to his heroism," Army Brig. Gen. Randal Castro said.

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson ordered American, state and city flags in Indianapolis to fly at half-staff Tuesday to honor Halling.

Danny Ahlbrand, a friend of the soldier's, said he and Halling had been planning to start a motorcycle business. He credits Halling with pushing him to get passing grades in high school.

"I don't think it's going to sink in until August, when I'm expecting him home," Ahlbrand said.

Courtesy of The


"Memorial Services in Indianapolis"
17 June 2003

          Tearful mourners gathered June 17 to bid farewell to a decorated Indiana soldier who died defending his comrades when their unit came under fierce attack in Iraq.

Pfc. Jesse Halling, an Indianapolis teenager, died June 7 during a battle in Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

“There’s no greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,’’ the Rev. D. Michael Welch told about 300 mourners during the service at St. Christopher Catholic Church.

Halling, 19, has been widely praised for his actions during the battle, ordering others in his unit to take cover, while he remained at his post and returned fire until he was hit by shrapnel.

“Jesse went over to Iraq to help a people have a freedom, to help a people have a peace,’’ Welch said. “If that peace is going to have any chance it has to start with us. If Jesse’s life is going to make any sense to us, we must get in our churches on our knees and thank God for the freedoms we’ve got.’’

The words of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic’’ soared to the highest reaches as three soldiers marched to Halling’s coffin and draped it with a U.S. flag.

At the gravesite at Crown Hill Cemetery, Brig. Gen. Randal Castro promoted Halling to private first class and awarded him the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medals.

The general gave Halling’s mother and father two American flags, folded in triangles, “on behalf of a grateful nation.’’

As a bugler played taps, seven soldiers fired a 21-gun salute. The service ended with the release of four white doves, one for the father, son and holy spirit, and one for Halling.

Halling’s mother, Pam Halling, said before the funeral that his death should be a reminder that thousands of U.S. military personnel still face danger in Iraq.

“People are still getting killed in Iraq,’’ she said. “It’s happening every day.’’

A day before Halling’s burial, Pam Halling broke down in tears as she watched a slide presentation of snapshots from her son’s short life.

“Everything was about the military,’’ she said. “Ever since he was in kindergarten, drawing pictures of jets and helicopters and tanks … it was just in him.’’

  Associated Press


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