Wife of Special Ops soldier killed in training accident keeps his memory alive

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Fort Bragg community is paying tribute to Staff Sergeant Jacob Hess. The Special Operations soldier was killed last week in a training accident in Fort Polk Louisiana.

His wife spoke exclusively with ABC11 about what she wants the community to remember about him.

"His last words to me were, 'I'm going out on a mission, I won't be able to talk with you for a while but I love you more than anything in this world,'" said Jessica Hess.

That's the text message from her husband that Jessica Hess said gives her some peace. Staff Sergeant Jacob Hess never returned from that training mission, leaving behind a wife and five kids.

"That was particularly hard telling them by myself. Her just being three months old worries me beside. I'm afraid that she won't know him," said Hess.

Hess was a decorated Special Operations soldier based at Fort Bragg. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008 and again from 2009-2010.

His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (fourth award), Army Achievement Medal (sixth award), Meritorious Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation, Army Good Conduct Medal (fourth award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star (second award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (third award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (third award), Parachutist Badge, and Italian Airborne Wings.

He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

More than Hess loved serving his country, his wife said he loved music and his family.

"He plays they Ukulele and he got the DIY ukulele kits for all of the girls and he put them together...the girls painted them. He took them to Hobby Lobby by himself and everything," said Hess.

The saying goes "one song can bring back a thousand memories," the song he wrote for Jessica when proposing to her gives the family a reminder and a thousand reasons to never forget.

"The way he proposed to me, he said 'if you marry me...I promise that I'll choose you first every single day' and that is something that he lived by," said Hess.

SSG Hess will be remembered during a homegoing ceremony in his home state of Missouri later this week.
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