Jesse B Albrecht

Jesse B Albrecht

Jesse B. Albrecht had built a house in Alaska with his new wife, hoped to hit the links when he left Iraq and planned to become an Army recruiter.
He had smart, well-laid-out plans, according to his mother, Denise Albrecht, and he”d sit around at night with his fellow soldiers chatting about golf and what courses they”d play when they returned home.

Albrecht, 31, of Hager City, Wis., was killed May 17 by a roadside bomb in Iskandariya. He was a 1994 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Richardson.

He leaves behind his wife, Crystal, whom he married last July, and an 11-year-old daughter, Salena, from his first marriage.
Albrecht was lanky and good-natured, and opponents on the wrestling mat in high school found it hard to pin him down. He also enjoyed snowboarding, fishing, snowmobiling and riding ATVs.

Denise Albrecht said that his fellow soldiers told her he was one of the first to participate in platoon outings, including paint ball and ice hockey, and also enjoyed playing cards, even though “he couldn”t bluff a 3-year-old in a poker game.”

31, of Hager City, Wis.; assigned to the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska; died May 17 in Iskandariya, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed were Pfc. Victor M. Fontanilla and Spc. Coty J. Phelps.


Former Hager City soldier killed by roadside bomb

MILWAUKEE — Jesse B. Albrecht had built a house in Alaska with his new wife, picked up a new hobby in Iraq and planned to become an Army recruiter.

He had smart, well-laid-out plans, according to his mother, Denise Albrecht, and he’d sit around at night with his fellow soldiers chatting about golf and what courses they’d play when they returned from military service.

Albrecht, born in River Falls and raised in Hager City, was killed Thursday when a bomb detonated near his vehicle in Iraq. The Army confirmed his death Monday.

He leaves behind his wife, Crystal, whom he married last July, and an 11-year-old daughter, Salena, from his first marriage.

“They already built a new home and he was going to come back and settle in and be a recruiter,” his mother said. “Crystal is going to school to be a doctor. He had really good plans for the future.”

Sgt. 1st Class Albrecht, 31, served as a motor transport operator with the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. He joined the Army in June 1993 as a high school junior and was assigned to a base in Fort Richardson, Alaska in September 2005. He was less than eight years from retirement.

Denise Albrecht said that her son last came through rural western Wisconsin on his way to Alaska.

“He had switched from living in Laurel, Maryland, and he was going up to Alaska, so he stopped by for a couple of weeks,” Albrecht said by telephone from New Richmond, where the family had gathered to mourn his death. “Then, once he got up there, they were so busy doing training missions and everything [and never came back].”

However, the two kept in close contact.

“Jesse was the kind of person who would brighten up a room with his smile,” she said. “He basically called me all the time.”

Albrecht, who graduated from Prescott High School in Prescott in 1994 after returning from boot camp, wrestled in high school and enjoyed competitive pursuits as well as snowboarding, fishing, snowmobiling and riding ATVs. Denise Albrecht said that his fellow soldiers told her he was one of the first to participate in platoon outings that were scheduled most weekends, including paint ball and even ice hockey, and also enjoyed playing cards, even though “he couldn’t bluff a 3-year-old in a poker game,” she said.

His mother also said her son loved the Army and saw it as his role to serve his country, even as she worried about his well-being.

“He would say, ‘Mom, it’s my job.’ You go and work in a factory, and I work for the government. That’s my job,” she said.

Albrecht is the 74th Wisconsin resident to die as a result of service in Iraq or associated with duties there. A funeral service has been scheduled for Saturday at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Glenwood City where Albrecht was baptized, Rev. Ralph Thompson said.


5 Fort Richardson paratroopers killed in separate attacks

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Five paratroopers from Fort Richardson were killed last week in three separate attacks, an Army official said Monday.

On May 18, two paratroopers were killed by small arms fire, but in different incidents. Those deaths came a day after three Fort Richardson soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in Iskandariya.

The two small arms fire deaths were announced May 21.

One paratrooper, whose identity has not been released, died from wounds suffered in Hamiuah.

The other soldier, Sgt. Ryan Baum, 27, of Aurora, Colo., died from wounds he suffered in Karmah, Army Alaska spokesman Capt. Richard C. Hyde said.

Both Baum and the unidentified soldier were assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. Baum was assigned to Fort Richardson in June 2005.

Army officials also on Monday identified the three soldiers who died May 17 in the bombing incident as:

— Spc. Coty Phelps, 21, of Kingman, Ariz. Phelps was a paralegal who joined the Army in September 2004, and was stationed in Alaska a year later.

— Staff Sgt. Jesse B. Albrecht, 31, of Hager City, Wis. He was a motor transport operator who joined the Army in June 1993 and was assigned to the Alaska base in September 2005.

— Pfc. Victor M. Fontanilla, 23, of Stockton, Calif. He also was a motor transport operator who joined the Army in October 2005 and was assigned to Fort Richardson the following April.

A fourth soldier was injured and was transported to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq, Hyde said.

Albrecht and Fontanilla were assigned to Echo Company, 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. Phelps was assigned to division’s Headquarters Company.

The 3,500-member brigade deployed last fall; since then, 39 paratroopers have been killed, Hyde said.

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Hager City
05/17/2007
Age: 31
Incident Location: Iskandariya, Iraq
Branch: Army
Rank: Sgt. 1st Class
Unit: 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
Units Base: Fort Richardson, Alaska