Shelter Island’s Theinert named to state’s Veterans Hall of Fame

COURTESY PHOTO | 1st Lt. Joe Theinert in Afghanistan.

Two East End war heros, Army 1st Lieutenant Joseph J. Theinert of Shelter Island and Marine Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter of Sag Harbor, will be posthumously inducted into the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame on May 22 in Albany, state Senator Kenneth P. LaValle announced Tuesday. Mr. LaValle nominated the pair for the state honor.

“Joe Theinert and Jordan Haerter are true heroes who gave their lives protecting the freedoms we treasure. They should be recognized and commended by our state and community,” said Senator LaValle. “Induction into The New York State Veterans Hall of Fame is a tribute to these two fine young men that demonstrates our respect and gratitude for their patriotism and sacrifice.”

Joe Theinert deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a green 1st Lieutenant and was excited to be going to defend our country. He was also very concerned about his men, his “guys.” Before he left, Joe told his mom, Chris Kestler of Shelter Island, he wouldn’t know what he would do if he had to write home to a parent or wife if one of his men died under his command.

Joey was 24 years old. Approximately six weeks into his deployment, he was killed in action on June 4, 2010 while on a dismounted patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Joe’s platoon had to regroup after undergoing hostile fire from rocket propelled grenades.

After their patrol had regrouped and resumed its patrol, Joe noticed something suspicious and went to investigate. It was at that point an improvised explosive device detonated and killed him. No other men of Joe’s platoon were physically injured or killed.

COURTESY PHOTO | Lance Corporal Jordon Haerter

Jordan Haerter entered the Marine Corps directly after high school and attended three grueling months of recruit training at the Marine Corp. Recruit Depot. Parris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina. During this stage of his training, he earned a distinction that would serve him well in Iraq, Platoon High Shooter (Weapons Qualification Badge – Expert) in his Alpha Company platoon.

On April 22, 2008, LCPL Haerter was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq. He had been deployed to Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia district of Ramadi, which at one point was the center of insurgency in that city. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines were in the process of turning over this Joint Security Station to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines.

Jordan, a member of the proud and storied 1st Battalion, 9th Marines also known as ‘The Walking Dead,’ and fellow marine CPL Jonathan T. Yale, a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, were standing guard at an Entry Control Point. At 07:45, a large truck accelerated toward the Entry Control Point, careening off the protective serpentine, ignoring all signals and flares warning the driver to stop. When the truck failed to stop, Jordan and Cpl. Yale opened fire and continued firing until a 2,000-pound blast claimed their lives.

The New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.

LCPL Jordan Haerter’s military awards include the Navy Cross Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Iraqi Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.