|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, Sept. 22.
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 still live.
"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 time.
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 Unit.
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 statement:
"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."