Army Staff Sgt. Jeffery L. Hartley remembered

The Associated Press

Despite a sense of humor that bordered on goofball, there was little question that Jeffery L. Hartley meant business when it was time to work.

“He was a no-nonsense professional when the mission was on. You could always count on him,” said Brig. Gen. Francis Mahon.

Hartley, 25, of Hempstead, Texas, died April 8 in Kharguliah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an explosive. He was assigned to Fort Benning.

“Everyone he befriended came to feel like a member of Jeff’s family,” said Mahon. “Jeff was a caring young man who always took the time to ensure that others were OK.”

Hartley grew up in Hempstead, played for the high school football team and was liked and respected. He went on active duty in June 2001.

He was the first local soldier to fall in combat in Iraq and was remembered above all for his warmth and concern toward fellow soldiers.

He is survived by his father and stepmother, David and Ann Hartley.

His father is a longtime Hempstead police officer, said Detective Jason Martinez. “He truly loved being in the military,” Martinez said.