CAMPBELL, WY, USA
LCPL, WPNS CO, 2D BN 2D MAR,( RCT- 7, MEB-A FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN 03/24/2010
Miles Fortner, 21, was Ross’ best friend in junior high and high school. The two struck up a friendship while riding the school bus. Ross had an adventurous streak and a passion for the outdoors. In 2008, the two decided to canoe the Belle Fourche River. They began paddling near Hulett and continued for more than 100 miles to Belle Fourche, South Dakota. During their journey, an oar broke and they lost a couple bottles of water. “It just added to the adventure,” After high school, Ross joined the Marine Corps something he had intended to do since he was a young boy,
Fortner and others talked about Ross:
“Ross said he was having a great time over there, doing what he wanted to do and wouldn’t take it back for nothing,” Fortner’s mother, Sue, sat at her computer and went through a batch of old pictures of Ross and her son when they were in high school. She began to cry as she scrolled through the photos. “You just couldn’t ask for a better kid. He was as genuine as they come,” she said. Her son brought a lot of friends home over the years, but none quite as honest or kind as Ross. “You know how you feel like you’re dragging a 100-pound weight on your heart? It’s like that,” she said. “But we do have the peace of knowing he’s in heaven.” Jacob Swan another friend added, “I didn’t know how to react. It doesn’t seem like it really happened.” Bubba Hladky, a physical education teacher at Campbell County High School, said Ross was self-motivated and goal-oriented. He always admired Ross’ work ethic. He “just worked extremely hard.”
“Jake was absolutely fearless,” friend Dave Jones said. “That was just Jake.
”Ross as a boy who stood up for his beliefs and readily defended others.” added Fortner
Those who knew Ross say he was quiet, polite, intelligent, hard working and kind-hearted. Jake married Brittney Lynn Oliver in September 2009.
“A hero is somebody that loves. … Eventually if you love deeply and long enough, you will die for that,” said family friend Kenneth Royce.” There are funerals not happening today because of Lance Corporal Jake Ross.”