Janesville46.4°

Local Marine awarded top honor while serving in Iraq

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GINA R. HEINE
January 30, 2008
— When terrorists struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, Evansville High School freshman Jake Janes declared he would join the U.S. Marines.

“Him and his friend are standing in the kitchen, and they’re both saying, ‘We’re signing up,’” recalled Janes’ mother, Stacey Schumacher.


But his desire to serve developed throughout his childhood while listening to his grandpa’s stories of service and watching war movies and the TV show M*A*S*H.


Fast-forward a few years, and Lance Cpl. Jacob L. Janes, now 21, is a combat engineer working night missions in Iraq looking for improvised explosive devices. His hard work recently earned him the honor of “Marine of the Quarter,” a top award encompassing all aspects of what it means to be a Marine.


Janes first was chosen as the top Marine in his platoon, his unit and then in Alpha Company of the Second Combat Engineer Battalion. He now is in the running for the top Marine of his battalion.


The 2004 Evansville graduate is the son of Schumacher of Janesville and Rod Janes of Delavan.


Local Marine recruiter Staff Sgt. Francis Manning said it’s a big honor to be named Marine of the Quarter, especially while earning it in Iraq.


“The guy is what we call a stud. He’s really good to go—he’s just proven himself,” he said. “He’s doing what it takes to be a Marine. He’s definitely representing us very well.”


The award winner is chosen by a board of high-ranking Marines who judge the Marines in Marine Corps knowledge, fitness, marksmanship, references from commanders, proficiency and conduct, he said.


“They’re going to have no problem promoting him,” Manning said.


Janes said in an e-mail to The Janesville Gazette from Iraq that he was happy to receive the honor.


“But at the same time, it doesn’t change the fact of where I am,” he said. “It’s not like me and my buddies could go celebrate or anything. But I’m still proud of it.”


Being accepted into the Marines wasn’t an easy ride for Janes.


Janes was wrestling in triple overtime for the conference championship his senior year when he broke his ankle. He needed a plate and six screws to fix it. Just a few weeks earlier, he had dislocated his knee, his mother said.


After recovering from his injuries and losing weight, Janes was in. Encouragement came from his good friend, Pete Helgesen, a 2005 Evansville graduate. Helgesen, a Marine combat engineer serving in Iraq, was just completing boot camp when Janes was leaving for his camp. While in different platoons, the friends have met up in Iraq.


Janes said his earlier challenges didn’t have anything to do with his award. He credits being raised in the country and getting a strong work ethic from his dad.


While Janes couldn’t divulge much about what he does, he said he wants people back home to know how proud Iraqis are of their nation.


“You can’t go 10 feet in the city without seeing an Iraqi flag,” he said. “Little kids have them attached to their bikes, all over buildings.


“I just don’t think that enough people fly them back in the States.”


TO SEND MAIL

If you would like to contact Lance Cpl. Jake Janes, a 2004 Evansville High School graduate serving in Iraq, e-mail him at usmc4049@yahoo.com.


His mailing address is:


Lance Cpl. Janes, Jacob


Second CEB Aco. HQ Unit 73608


FPO AE 09509-3608


Janes’ mother, Stacey Schumacher, said her son hates candy and sweets but enjoys getting DVDs and rolls of Copenhagen. She said the demand for chewing tobacco at Janes’ station is so high that even non-chewers get in line to buy it because they can resell it for $20, Schumacher said.



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