Born: April 15, 1981 in Jefferson City, Missouri
Died: June 15, 2010 in Baquah, Iraq
Spc. Christopher W. Opat of Cresco, Iowa grew up on a farm near Lime Springs the son of Leslie and Mary Goodlaxson Opat. He was baptized and confirmed in his faith at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church at Lourdes, Iowa. Chris moved with his family to the Lime Springs, Cresco area when he was about a year after his birth. He attended Notre Dame Grade school and graduated from Crestwood High School in 2000. He then earned an Associate degree from Iowa Lakes Community College. He was always a hard worker and wasn’t afraid to break a sweat, even as a child. Chris enlisted in the United States Army in 2003, to serve his country and to get money for school. He completed his basic and Advanced Individual Training, and was previously stationed at Babenhausen, Germany. Chris had planned to make a career in the Army. Chris enjoyed fishing with his grandfather and was an avid Hawkeye fan who loved to watch both the Hawkeyes play football and basketball. He also enjoyed cooking and liked to create his own recipes. He was a gentle person with an adventurous spirit. His civilian and military education include, a high school diploma, Military Occupational Specialty 91D- Power Generation Equipment Repairer qualification course, Combatives Level I (2008), and Combat Lifesavers Course. His Awards and Decorations include, the Army Good Conduct Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon. He leaves his parents, his sisters, Anita, and Melissa, his brothers, Leslie, Phillip and Jason. Chris died at age 29 in Baquah, Iraq of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.
14th Cavalry Regiment
3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team
2nd Infantry Division
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Burial is at Lady of Lourdes Cemetery in Elma, Iowa
Born: November 4, 1982 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Died: August 31, 2007 in Landstuhl, Germany
Sgt. Kevin A. Gilbertson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was a graduate of Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School and was known as an upbeat, rabble-rousing, ball of fire nicknamed Gilmoe. He joined the Army right out of high school in hopes of getting a college education. His dream was to earn a degree and support his family. Kevin was married on Dec 30 2005 and he and his wife were living in Germany. He was currently on his second deployment in Iraq. He was an independent person who always would look you straight in the eye when communicating. Kevin was preceded in death by his two grandfathers, Leo Unash and Allan Gilbertson. He is the son of Keeley Peters and Don Gilbertson. He also leaves, his wife, Nina and two children. He died at age 24 in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations August 29 in Ramadi, Iraq.
77th Armor Regiment
2nd Brigade Combat Team
1st Infantry Division
Burial is at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Born on Nov. 3, 1990 in Des Moines, Iowa
Died on May 7, 2010 in Afghanistan
Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Davis of Perry, Iowa, was a 2009 Perry High School graduate. He had two dreams when he was growing up. One had to do with his love of the Green Bay Packers football team. He wanted to follow in Brett Favre’s footsteps. But his other dream prevailed, and that was to become a Marine. From an early age Joshua showed he cared about others, a humble leader who was steady and rarely got upset. As a lineman on the football team he was known for watching out for the entire team. He quickly took direction from the coaches and was able to push the rest of the team to do their best. Joshua enlisted in the Marines in March of 2009 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010 and was promoted to Lance Cpl. on May 1. A week later Joshua and his unit came under heavy enemy action and true to his life long commitment to watching out for his friends, even after he was shot, Joshua fought back with heavy machine gun fire. He died as a result of his injuries. Joshua lived his life according to the motto tattooed on his chest, “Death Before Dishonor.” His father Dave and stepmother Patti; his mother Beverly; a brother and two sisters survive him.
Joshua was buried in The Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery near Adel, Iowa.
Born on Mar. 2, 1957 in Marksville, LA
Died on Apr. 22, 2010 at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan
John was raised and educated in Marksville and in July of 1975, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served for ten years, stationed in Europe, Africa and southwest Asia and achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant on June 25, 1985. The next day John joined the Army reserves. The following autumn he married his wife Lori and together they raised five children. As a civilian John was employed as a supervisor for AMSA in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for over 28 years. He was highly active in in his community and church, teaching and guiding others in their lives. John was a great mentor and disciplinarian, and well respected for his opinions and guidance. Tough and direct, he loved to go hunting and fishing and you were welcome to tag along, as long as you baited your own hooks. The United States flag was important to John. He was known to give new flags to neighbors who were flying faded ones. In 2007 John was promoted to Command Sergeant Major and assigned to the 649th Regional Support Group, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He deployed to Afghanistan along with 50 other soldiers in August of 2009 to provide management and support to other troops there. It was his tenth over seas deployment. At Christmas time, the Reinbeck Iowa Lion’s Club sent care packages to John and his troops. As a thank you, John sent them a United States flag that had flown over the base on Christmas Day. John died of a heart attack after leading soldiers in physical training in Afghanistan at the age of 53 years. He had served his flag and country for 31 of those years. His military decorations include, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, The meritorious Service medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Ribbon with bronze star, The Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on terrorism Expeditionary medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the Marine Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with silver star, the NATO international Security Assistance Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation and various other ribbons.
Burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Oelwein, Iowa.
Born Apr. 22, 1967 in Keosauqua, Iowa
Died May 2, 2004 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
Trace was a 1985 graduate of Wapello Iowa High School. Lettering in several sports, and taking up his love for golf. From an early age Trace held the traits of a military man, his strong opinions on protecting others, duty and freedom was in his blood. He served in the United States Navy from 1986 until 1992 as a communications specialist/radioman and a diver aboard the USS Guitarro. In 1991 he met Angela Stoffel while he was stationed in California and they eloped six months later. When his service ended they lived in Iowa and Trace worked at several jobs, it was hard for him to get the military out of his blood. Around 2002 he and Angela moved to Florida with their two daughters, Trace worked as a quality control manager for Middlesex Corporation, which is a road and bridge building company. He loved living in Florida; he got to golf year round. In 2003 he enlisted in the Naval Reserves for a couple of reasons. First he was still a military man deep inside. The other reason was he had strong feelings about children and fathers spending time together. In late March, before he left for his deployment to Iraq, he let his daughters know he was leaving them for a short time, but this gave other fathers a chance to come home to their children for a while. He assured his family he was doing the right thing. Trace was assigned to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14- The Seabees. The Seabees provide construction support for the military by constructing base facilities and defensive positions. Using wood, steel, masonry, and concrete, his unit specialized in drilling wells and battle damage repair. Trace was one of five Seabees killed on May 2 when a mortar landed at Camp Fallujah near Ramadi, three weeks after they arrived in Iraq. Besides his wife and two daughters, his parents, a sister and a brother survived Trace.
Trace was buried in Wapello Cemetery in Wapello, Iowa.
Birth: May 19, 1974 – Scott, Iowa
Died: March 24, 2003 – Iraq
Sgt Korthaus was assigned to Engineering Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group, Peoria, Illinois. He drowned while attempting to cross the canal – ordered into water with full gear on by his Major. His body was recovered on March 25. He and another Marine were trying to set up weapons on the opposite bank to protect a water-purification team.
Burial: Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa – Section U, Site 319
Born Jan. 27, 1982 in Sioux City, Iowa
Died Jan. 26, 2005 near Ar Rutbah, Iraq
Nathan was a carefree young man who lived every day to its fullest, rarely letting anything bother him. He grew up in a town of just over 5,000 people, where his childhood friends were his friends from an early age on. Nathan was not the biggest kid in school, but his determination and strength helped him become a letter winner in football, basketball and baseball. In the spring of 2001 he graduated from high school and in the late summer he started his college courses at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. The 9-11-2001 Terrorist Attacks a short time later changed most people’s lives, Nathan’s included; it inspired him to enlist in the Marine Corps the next month. Nathan had that same attitude that so many American’s had at that time, what can I do? After basic training Nathan was stationed in Hawaii, assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. He came home to Iowa in June 2004 for his last visit home; his father had died of a brain tumor and Nathan came home for the burial. In September he deployed to Iraq and participated in some of the bloodiest battles in the Fallujah area. One particular battle was hardest on Nathan. His unit was doing door-to-door searches for insurgents and he and seven other Marines raided a house. Four of them were shot and two later died. He told his family of many of the things he saw and was part of and while he was proud of his part in helping the Iraqi people and his military service, he was bothered seeing his friends die. In late January he talked to his mother on the phone; he was exited because he was set to come home on February 4th. After all he had saw and done in Iraq, he told her he was home free. Two days later he boarded a CH-53E helicopter to help carry out a security mission for the upcoming elections. The helicopter went down in a sand storm, killing Nathan and 30 other military personnel, one day shy of his 23rd birthday. His mother, bother and a sister survived Nathan.
Nathan is buried next to his father in Galva Township East Cemetery in Galva, Iowa.
Birth: April 12, 1972 – Dubuque, Iowa
Died: August 14, 2003 – Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany
Pfc Kirchhoff was assigned to First Detachment, 2168th Transportation Company, U.S. Army National Guard, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a truck driver. The First Detachment transports supplies, personnel and equipment. He died after he suffered heatstroke while on military duty in the Iraqi desert on August 8. He is survived by his wife, Brooke, and two sons.
Burial: Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Born: February 17, 1978 in Batesville, Arkansas
Died February 10, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin
Army National Guard Chaplain Eric B. Simpson earned his Master’s of Divinity degree and was an ordained minister in the Evangelical Free Church. He served in the Iowa National Guard assigned to the 344th Battle Support Battalion based out of Camp Dodge. Deeply religious, Eric loved teaching others about Jesus and assisting them in their needs through prayer and conversation. Eric was always learning, never stopping his quest for knowledge of mankind. Eric was preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan later in the year. As a civilian, Eric was employed at a company in Schofield, Wisconsin, and on February 9, 2010, he was severely injured at work. He was transported to a Madison hospital where he died of his wounds. He is survived by his wife Sarah; two children; his parents Sherman “Dale” and Cleda (Taylor) Simpson; his brother Chris and several other relatives.
Born: December 19 1981
Died: February 2 2010 in Afghanistan
Capt. Daniel Whitten, 28, of Grimes, Iowa, graduated from Johnston Senior High School in 1999 and the United States Military Academy in 2004 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry in May 2004. While at West Point, Dan distinguished himself as one who stood for the values the academy. Helpful to his fellow cadets, he treated everyone with dignity and respect. Although he seemed to manage to get the highest grades, he claimed he never studied. He said his biggest accomplishment there was his impact on his subordinates and he hoped others learned from his mistakes. He attended Infantry Officers Basic Course, Basic Airborne School and Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and reported to Fort Bragg in March 2005 and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, then served four months in Iraq. In January 2007, he deployed for 15 months in Afghanistan. Last August, Dan became the commander of Company C, 1-508th PIR, and deployed for his third time. He was killed in action in Zabul province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Daniel’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Senior Parachutist’s Badge, and the Ranger Tab. His survivors include his wife, Starr Whitten; his parents, Jill Whitten of Grimes and Dan Whitten of Florida; and a sister, U.S. Army Capt. Sarah Whitten, who is currently serving in Afghanistan. Buried at United States Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, New York – Sec XXXV1 Site C-097F