First Lieutenant Joseph Theinert
Award: Honoring Our Veterans
1st Lieutenant Joe Theinert was only a sophomore in high school when the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred. At that time, he wrote, “There is nothing glorious about war but I will go to it to keep the people I love away from it. 9/11 NEVER FORGET.”
Determined to serve his country as quickly as possible, Joe opted to accept an ROTC commission at Valley Forge Military Academy and College over the Congressional nomination he also received to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.
After graduating from VFMA&C, Joe enrolled at SUNY Albany, was accepted into Siena College’s ROTC Mohawk Battalion, and in 2008, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Soon after, he received an active duty assignment to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. He was assigned to the 1-71 CAV, Banshee Troop, 2nd Platoon.
On March 28, 2010, Joe was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Before leaving, he told his mom 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.
Approximately six weeks into his deployment, on June 4, 2010, while on a dismounted patrol in the Dand District, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Joseph James Theinert was killed in action by an IED upon securing the safety of his entire platoon after they had just undergone hostile fire from rocket propelled grenades. He was 24 years old.
“And if I should ever fall, remember me for the man I was or at least trying to be.” Joe Theinert - age 16