Jesse Oscar Anderson of Boise, ID was the most loving husband, father, son, uncle, brother, friend and mentor. He left this world suddenly on February 2, 2021 at age 43 and the impact that he left behind will last lifetimes. Jess's optimism, open-mindedness, kindness and loving nature made him an extraordinary person that was admired by all those whose lives he touched. Jess greatly valued diverse perspectives and he never shied away from deep discussions as he saw them as an opportunity to learn. We are here to share his incredible story.
Jesse was born on January 21, 1978 in Honolulu, HI (yes, his birth certificate is black with white writing) at Tripler Army Medical Center to his parents Lori (Gieseke) and Bruce Anderson and a sister, Jennifer. They were a tight-knit family of four that moved all around the country. When he was little, he told everyone he wanted to be a dinosaur when he grew up, unfortunately, that didn't work out. Around the 4th grade, his parents got a call because he was selling live crawfish at school. Strangely, live crawfish were pretty popular with the kids. To his sister's dismay, Jess also loved to tell the story of the one time when she put chocolate chips in his ears when he was sick. Apparently, a fever + melted chocolate in your ears is not fun. In middle school, he discovered a love for snakes which also included a mouse and rat breeding program (housed in the garage) to feed all the snakes he kept in his room (yes, plural, snakesss). His parents were obviously generous and sister oblivious. There are many stories of a runaway mouse in the house ("quick, stuff the towel under the door!") or even running loose in the minivan. The animals don't stop there. He also at some point had cockatiels, numerous fish, a guinea pig and an iguana. He got his love of animals from his mom, who didn't love all his pets, but that's not important right now. During this time, he also competed in observed trials motorcycle competitions all over Texas with his dad which instilled a lifelong love of motorcycles and dirt bikes. His first car was a 1976 Ford Courier truck that was sitting on blocks when they found it and cost $100. Jess used to tell the story about the first time he saw that Courier “Pops took me out to a field and said ‘Son, that’s your new truck.’ ” At this point in the story Jess would pause, fist pump and give a slow, drawn out “Yessssss!” They proceeded to go around the field and find 4 different colored tires. Jesse and his dad rebuilt the engine (a skill and passion he carried throughout his life) and the little red truck we called the “Tonka Truck” was up and running. At 16, he looked like a 12 year old driving. A year later, his dad offered to get him a street bike (a
17 year old on a street bike??). Jess was instantly excited, until they went to the junkyard to get it. They rebuilt that motorcycle and he drove it to high school every day. (Until it got too cold outside and his parents recalled his sister's car for him to drive, leaving her without a car for a couple months. She is still upset.)
After high school, he moved to Prescott, AZ with his parents and started college. Soon after, he met the love of his life, Vikki, and her little boy, Marcus whom he also loved instantly. They met during a Differential Equations class (Calculus 4 for those of you that have no idea what any of this means) How romantic? Initially, Jess pursued Vik and she continually turned him down until she didn’t (yay!). While managing a busy schedule of full time college, employment, and falling in love with Vikki, Jess’s #1 priority was how in the world is he going to be a good dad to Marcus. Jess married Vikki on October 20, 2000 and shortly thereafter, the Anderson family entered a new and exciting adventure as Jess departed for the Army, still unable to grow a mustache. During a busy couple years of intense Army flight training and learning how to be a dad and care for a family, Jess still found time to spend weekends in Panama City and got kicked out of Club LaVela with his friends. Fortunately, his Army friends lifted his spirits by placing a fire hose under the door of his motel room while he slept, and he woke the next morning to valiantly save Vikki and their luggage from floating away into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Anderson family hosted numerous social events at their home and made countless new lifelong friends during their stay in Alabama. Anderson parties became notorious. He continued putting in a great deal of effort to grow his mustache while his mice population continued to grow with his snakes. Flight school ended when Jess’s orders to Germany were rescinded, at which point Jess unknowingly entered into an agreement with his new future brother-in-law to both accept reassignment orders to Fort Drum, NY. Who knew that Fort Drum was way closer to Canada than it is to NYC? Vikki and her sister Robin would be stuck shoveling an endless succession of snow while Jess and Adam rotated in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan among other not-so-scenic locations.
Army life in NY introduced Jess to even more incredible people to work hard and play hard with. Weekends were filled with social gatherings, there was a trip to Iraq, new house projects, basement bar construction, a trip to Afghanistan, next-level biennial Halloween parties, a trip to the junkyard to pick up his next motorcycle project, throwing darts in the garage during long winters, correcting Adam that it’s called a shop, not a garage, never EVER using a snowblower to clear his driveway since clearing snow is for chumps, a few feeble attempts at No-Shave November, changing the brake pads and rotors on the cars of half the battalion, cigars with the fellas, puking in one of the commander’s helmet bags when they were flying and using a 2 ton hydraulic floor jack to push a boulder the size of a Volkswagen bus into the river behind his house just because.
By this time, Jess had easily proven that he mastered the skills required to be a top-notch father, so they brought Kyle into the world. With another hungry boy in the house, the Anderson family continued to live life at Level 10 and the youngins had the benefit of being surrounded by the village of amazing people that Jess brought into his circle. As Jess was preparing to depart NY to join the team of professionals in the Idaho National Guard that he served alongside in Afghanistan, he was presented with the opportunity to welcome a daughter, Savannah, into their family. He accepted this change with open and loving arms, and loaded up the wagon and headed west to Boise.
In 2008 Jess and Vikki purchased their home in Boise, ID. Jess and his family met many amazing people and formed strong bonds with friends that they consider family. In 2009, Jess’s youngest son Jase was born. Jess had a fantastic shop, *not* a garage. He spent a lot of time in his shop perfecting and enjoying his hobbies, teaching his kids shop safety and basic mechanic skills on “shop days”. The shop saw numerous stereo revamps, transmission rebuilds, clutch rebuilds and dirt bike maintenance. Many cigars were smoked, mustaches were attempted, and darts and cornhole bags were thrown. Shockingly, the speakers in the garage were only blown out once. In 2011 Jess deployed to Afghanistan for a second time in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon arriving home, Jess was happy to spend time with family and friends. Family friends quickly became partners in crime that Jess and his family spent every summer with at the Warm Lake cabin. Jess loved playing card games and he was a fantastic wake surfer. Seriously, he could do it with a beer in hand and his youngest boy Jase on his back. In 2015 Jess and Vikki purchased some land in Idaho City and got to work tackling their life-long dream of building a family cabin. Jess built the cabin with his bare hands. Okay, not entirely. He had some help. But Jess was a master wood-worker who had incredible creativity and design skills. Jess was very ambitious and it was a goal for him to complete his bachelor's degree that he started in 1998, based on the entire story you all have read, he clearly got busy. But he finally finished his last torturous year and a half of school in 2020 and completed his BS in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. If you ever want to know who Jess really is, take the time to enjoy some of his favorite things in the world. His favorite music was old school hip-hop, Led Zeppelin, Frank Sinatra, Etta James and Chris Stapleton. His favorite drink was the Rumpelstiltskin (rum and coke.)
His favorite books were Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values and Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals both by Robert M. Pirsig. His favorite movies/ tv shows were The Count of Monte Cristo, Airplane, The Breakfast Club, Super Troopers and Band of Brothers. His favorite video game was the Bethesda Fallout series games that he played with his family.
CW4 Jesse Anderson entered the military in October 2000. Jess is 4th generation military aviator that started in France in WWI. After Basic Combat Training in Fort Benning, GA he continued straight to Fort Rucker, AL to complete Warrant Officer Candidate School and the Army Initial Entry Rotary Wing course. His first assignment as a WO1 was as a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot assigned to A Co 2-10 Aviation at Fort Drum, NY. During his 6 years with the 10th Mountain Division, he deployed twice; once to Iraq in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and again to Afghanistan in 2006 for Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2008, after serving 8 years on active duty, Jess accepted a position with A Company, 1st of the 168th General Support Aviation Battalion, Idaho National Guard as a UH-60 A/L Instructor pilot, with his full time duties serving as a Department of the Army civilian Instructor Pilot at the Aviation Support Facility in Boise. His duty positions with the IANG include Battalion Standardization Officer, UH-60 Company Standardization Instructor Pilot, UH-60 Pilot in Command (Assault, Special Missions, and MEDEVAC), C-12 Huron Fixed Wing pilot, C-12 Operations Officer, Rotary Wing Instrument Examiner, and UH-60 Pilot in Command. Notable missions include local search and rescue operations, wildland firefighting and most recently assisting the State of California, and civil support operations in Guatemala.
Jess was a very humble man, who much preferred to build others up rather than accept compliments and accolades from others. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal (3rd award), the Army Commendation Medal one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal one oak leaf cluster, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Metal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, the Master Aviator Badge, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the California Achievement Medal, the Idaho Emergency Duty Ribbon, and the Idaho Service Ribbon.
He has also been honored for the following:
Basic Training Soldier of the Cycle.
2006 AAAA North Country Chapter Aviator of the Year.
2012 Army National Guard Officer LTC Clinton R. Taylor Integrity and Leadership Award.
2017 Idaho Army National Guard Aviator of the Year.
Over the course of Jess’s 20 year career, he amassed 5,628.2 total military flight hours. 4,952.6 were UH-60 hours. 497.4 were C-12 fixed wing hours. His total combat flight time during his 3 year-long tours in Iraq and Afghanistan totalled 1815.2 hours.
Because we know you all want to know, in 2019 Jess FINALLY grew a real mustache. Yes, he was a real boy and grew a mustache and it was legit.
Family was number one for Jess, directly after the cat.
Jess is survived by the love of his life, his beautiful wife, Vikki and his four children: Savannah (26) and son-in-law Benjamin of Salem,OR; Marcus (23) of Fort Campbell,KY; Kyle (15) and Jase (11) of Boise,ID; parents Lori and Bruce Anderson of Kuna,ID; grandmother DeLores Gieseke of Mahnomen,MN; grandmother Jan Anderson of Austin,TX; sister Jennifer and brother-in-law Alex with niece Abbey, nephews Anders and Jimmy of Beaverton, OR; Vikki's sister Robin and brother-in-law Adam with nephews Aedan and Nate of Marietta,GA; Vikki's grandmother Lynne Beaumont of Newport Beach,CA; cat Ramathorne; dog Andi.
Jess is predeceased by his grandfathers Gerald A. Gieseke and Harold W. Anderson; grandmother Marion J. Eckstein; and dogs Motor and one-eyed Louis, cat Wally and his beloved and most favorite fat cat Papagiorgio.
There will be a plaque honoring Jess at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
The Funeral Service will be held on Friday, February 12, 2021 at 3pm in building 1530, Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers or memorial funds, the family requests a contribution in Jesse's name to the Idaho Food Bank.
To send flowers to CW4 Jesse O. Anderson's family, please visit our floral store.