Jay Matthew Thurin A Veteran's Story


September 20, 2018

Courtesy Jay Thurin

Jay Thurin, Senior year, Pine Bluffs High School.

Jay Matthew Thurin was destined to be a Marine. He was born March 8, 1985 in Kimball, Nebraska and was delivered by Dr. Plate. He is the son of Matthew and Carla Thurin of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. His 'Marine' influence would come from his grandpa, Leland Thurin, who served in the Marines during the Korean War.

His grandpa would return home to make his home to Lawrence, Nebraska. This would be home for Thurin's dad, Matthew until he graduated college and then moved to Kimball to manage Wheelers. He would meet his wife, Carla there and this would begin the history. This would add to the influence in the younger Thurin's life.

J. Thurin did all of his schooling in the Pine Bluffs schools except his 6th grade year, which was in Banner County (Harrisburg) Nebraska. He would graduate from Pine Bluffs High School 2003.

From high school, he entered the Marine Corps. in July of 2004. He went to San Diego, California for his basic training, then to Camp Pendleton for the school of infantry. After completion, he was transferred to 29 Palms in the desert of California.

"I liked 29 Palms, it was small then, and reminded me of home." Thurin stated. He found himself assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 1st Tank Battalion, H and S Company. He then became part of a select group in the Stryker Sect and was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in September of 2005.

On January 21, 2006, Thurin and others in his Humvee were hit underneath by an IED. He among others were injured and hit by shrapnel. "I lost my good pair of Oakleys, but my helmet saved my head for sure!" Thurin said. "I was out for a couple of days, and then signed a waiver to return to duty. " he added. This would give Thurin his first 'Purple Heart'.

Thurin returned to duty, and a short time later, on February 14, he would experience a second attack. This would change his life forever, eventually return him to his roots.

Thurin and his group were out on patrol, when the attack hit. "I was thrown out of the Humvee through the turret and was blasted over 103 yards. This attack was so severe, it took the life of our driver, LCpl. Michael Probst, and injured everyone else." he said sadly. "It was a bad time, but my injuries could have been a lot worse than they were. I could have completely lost my arm, but we had just been issued Kevlar sleeves and it did protect me from my arm being cut off." Thurin added.

His injuries to his arm, legs and thighs would send him to the hospital, and eventually home.

Thurin found himself inside the hospital in Abu Ghraib, Iraq,(Army base)known as the prison. This was due to partly being where we were treated, but also where prisoners of war were kept and treated also.

"When I came to, I thought I was in Germany, because two soldiers were walking by my bed with Subway and Burger King!" he said. That thought was quickly dashed and he began to focus on the room and people in it. "It was hard to be in the same room with prisoners handcuffed to their beds, knowing what had happened to my driver." Thurin said, and added, "I was transferred right away to Balad, Irag, then to Germany for surgery, then to Delaware, and on to Travis AFB, California for more surgeries."

It would be sometime before Thurin would find himself back at his base of 29 Palms and more surgery.

After numerous surgeries at different bases, Thurin would be released from duty medically in March of 2007. He returned home to the Pine Bluffs area to work on his grandma's and aunt's farm.

On July 27, 2006, Thurin would marry his childhood friend Ashley Knaub. They would make their home in the area, and settle down to have a family.

Thurin farms the place, where he grows wheat, millet and Ashley Thurin works at Pine Bluffs Elementary School where she teaches special education. She is working on her Masters degree as well. They have two children, MaKenna in 5th grade, and Jax in 2nd. Both are very active in different programs. Both are in 4-H with a steer and lamb. MaKenna is also in sewing and cooking as well.

One of the programs the kids are in, Thurin is extremely active in. Five years ago he bacame involved in the wrestling program in the tristate area. After coaching the first year, Thurin put together the Tri State Grapple program and has continued coaching for four years. "We encourage them to be active, to participate in sports." he said.

Reflecting back on his military and time in service, he has no regrets. "I am proud to have served, but I am even more proud of the people I served with that gave the ultimate sacrifice. To serve your country, to keep our freedoms, and to think of something bigger than themselves is the best thing we can do." he said. "There are a small few who serve our country, and I am thankful I was able to serve. Recently I spoke with Ireland Olson about serving, and she recently left for basic. She is one of the few who will serve, and think of country first, before self." Thurin added.

After serving, receiving two Purple Hearts, he now serves the land, tilling and growing....we thank you for your service Jay.

Courtesy Jay Thurin

Jay Thurin and his wife, Ashley with their children MaKenna and Jax on the farm.


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