Just two days before Jerry Josiah Eley was found dead with a gunshot wound to the upper body Sunday in Reisterstown, he had completed his term of service with the Maryland National Guard.
Eley, 28, of Windsor Mill, was “a hard working individual who was an immense pleasure to be around,” Maj. Kurt M. Rauschenberg said in a statement. Eley had served in the National Guard for nearly 10 years.
Eley was a specialist with the guard’s 231st Chemical Company, based out of Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown, as a medic. The 231st is a group that trains to respond domestically to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. Eley had initially joined the guard as a member of the 1st Battalion of the 175th Infantry Regiment in 2010.
Eley was found dead in Reisterstown around 8 p.m. Sunday, in the area of the 12000 block of Tarragon Road. Police officials said Eley was declared dead at the scene, but added that, as of Tuesday afternoon, police were working to determine if the location of Eley’s body was where the shooting had occurred.
Eley was deployed from March 2011 until April 2012 to Egypt in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, also known as the Global War on Terrorism.
1st Sgt, Thomas Brendlinger, who supervised Eley for the past year and a half or so, said Ely was “a great person.”
“He had a great sense of humor, always had a smile on his face. He was willing to make people laugh and have a good time while working with the soldiers in the unit,” Brendlinger said.
Brendlinger said Eley was a hard worker and that there was “nothing he wouldn’t do to help the unit accomplish its mission.”
“He was just somebody that you’d like to be around and have conversations with,” Brendlinger said. “Me and the soldiers are saddened by the loss, and he’ll be deeply missed.”
Eley was awarded medals at the state and federal level, including a medal for National Defense Service and for community service in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
The Maryland National Guard is providing a specialist to Eley’s family to help with benefits, entitlements and funeral arrangements, Rauschenberg said.
Eley’s family could not immediately be reached for comment.