Grant County Soldier Dies In Afghanistan

A 30-year-old U.S. soldier from Grant County died on Monday in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Defense Department officials.

Staff Sgt. Jesse J. Grindey, of Hazel Green, was a military policeman assigned to the 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion. The unit is based in Fort Riley, Kan.

Grindey died in Kandahar province, but the military hasn’t released what led to his death. U.S. Army officials are investigating his death.

He enlisted in the Army in March 2002 and was currently serving his second deployment to the Middle East, according to a Defense Department news release. Previously, he served tours in Iraq, Korea and Japan.

Mike Gorham, a close friend of Grindey and his family, said Grindey always wanted to help people by becoming a police officer or a firefighter. At age 18, he became a firefighter for Hazel Green.

“If you talk about someone who has the heart of a lion and really cared about people, you’re talking about Jesse Grindey. He’s just a phenomenal man,” said Gorham, who’s also a deputy sheriff for Lafayette County.

Gorham said he was always proud of Grindey’s passion to be a police officer and serve the military.

“You try to cultivate that in young people. It’s a tragic loss that he’s paid a price for the service to his country,” Gorham said.

Grindey was a decorated soldier whose awards included the Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with three bronze clasps, Iraqi Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon with three numerals, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon, according to a statement from the Fort Riley Public Affairs Office.

His stepmother said he had just been deployed to Afghanistan on Dec. 31.

Grindey was married and had two children. The Grindey family said they appreciate the support they’ve gotten over the last 24 hours.

They’re also waiting to hear back from the military to learn of the cause of his death. At this point, it’s unclear how he died.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Stay tuned to Channel 3000 and WISC-TV for continuing coverage.