141st Soldier Killed By bomb in Iraq
|Staff Sgt. Lance Koenig
"141st Soldier Killed Bybomb in Iraq." Valley City Times Record, 23 September 2004.
Bismarck - Maj. Gen. Michael Haugen, Adjutant General of the North
Dakota National Guard, announced today that one soldier from the 141st
Engineer Combat Battalion (ECB) was killed in action in Iraq on Wednesday,
Staff Sgt. Lance J. Koenig, 33, of Fargo was killed in action as
a result of the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED)
or roadside bomb. Koenig was participating in a Task Force Trailblazer
mission the morning of Sept.22 to monitor and clear roads of suspicious
looking objects that could be hiding places for IED's.
Reports received from the 141st ECB indicated Koenig was investigating
a suspicious roadside object that turned out to be a bomb.The bomb
then detonated, killing Koenig. The incident happened at approximately
9:15 a.m. (Iraqi time) south of Tikrit, near Uja, the village where
Saddam Hussein was born and where members of his family and tribe
"Today, North Dakota is united in mourning the loss of Lance
Koenig, a true American hero," said Gov. John Hoeven. "With
courage and devotion to duty, he made the ultimate sacrifice for
our country. Our hearts and continued prayers are with his family,
and with all of our men and women serving in uniform."
Koenig was assigned to Company B of the 141st ECB from Jamestown.
He was stationed at Forward Operating Base Speicher near Tikrit
which is about 100 miles northwest of Baghdad.
According to Lt. Col. Fode, the 141st ECB commander, a memorial
service for Koenig is scheduled in Iraq for members of the 141st
the beginning of next week. Chaplain Millican, the 141st battalion
chaplain, is making arrangements for the service. Additional details
of funeral arrangements in North Dakota are not available at this
Koenig is survived by his wife, Angela, and two children, Alexandra,
12, and Brooklynn, 2, of Fargo; and his parents, Robert and Lynette
Koenig of Carrington. Koenig was a 1989 graduate of Carrington High
School and had attended North Dakota State University where he was
an All American wrestler.
Koenig enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 1988
while still in high school. After basic training, he was assigned
to Company B, 141st Engineer Combat Battalion as 21B or a combat
engineer. He was carrying on a tradition as his father was also
a member of the unit until his retirement.
Koenig also volunteered for flood duty during the 1997 flood in
Grand Forks. He also volunteered to work on Task Force Shield in
Devils Lake during 2002.
The 141st ECB, headquartered in Valley City, currently has approximately
475 Soldiers deployed to Iraq. The battalion was alerted for possible
mobilization on November 12, 2003 and entered federal active duty
status on December 18. On February 15, 2004, Soldiers from the 141st
ECB started arriving in Kuwait.
The mission of the 141st ECB is to conduct route clearance and
maintenance missions, known as Task Force Trail Blazer.
While supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 141st ECB is under
the command of the 264th Engineer Group, a Wisconsin National Guard
Koenig is the sixth North Dakota Army National Guard Soldier to
die in Iraq.
Following reports confirming the death of a North Dakota National
Guard soldier in Iraq, Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., issued the following
"The loss of this National Guard Soldier in Iraq is devastating
to all of North Dakota. Our prayers go out to the parents and young
family of our deceased soldier. He gave his life in selfless commitment
to our country and we will never forget it."