Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Dennis G Jensen

Vermillion, South Dakota

August 16, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
21 Army Spc

153rd Engineer Battalion, 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

Sioux Falls, Soth Dakota

 Died in Helmand province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.

From KDLT News kdlt.com 08/25/11:

Family Remembers Spc. Dennis G. Jensen

August 25, 2011 6:02 PM
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Family, friends, and fellow soldiers gather at the United Church of Christ in Yankton to remember Specialist Dennis Jensen.

“We've lost a son and we have lost a soldier, but we still have a very large family; both here and abroad,” said Dennis’ father Glenn Jensen.

Family members tell stories of Dennis as someone who had a passion for his country.

"He wanted to be a soldier all of his life,” said Jensen. “That's all he really ever wanted; and he was.”

"His commitment to being a soldier was 150 percent,” said Dennis’ mother Christine Jensen-Bestgen.

As parents, Glenn and Christine knew his deployment to Afghanistan was a risk. But they say the pride they have in their soldier is indescribable.

"Dennis asked me to be strong before he left,” said Jensen-Bestgen. "There's a lot of stupid stuff he could have done. But he didn't. And I told my daughter, if Dennis should lose his life as a soldier, that I could live with, because he did what he said he wanted to do.”

Knowing that their son died doing what he loved.

"To know that he was smiling and so happy with what he was about to do,” said Jensen-Bestgen.

Grateful for his memory and sacrifice.

“We're not the only ones grieving,” said Jensen-Bestgen. “We have our troops, we have our units over in Afghanistan who are just devastated with what is going on. Our goal, as a family, is to reach out to everyone to tell them that we feel that grief.”

A son, brother, friend, and soldier left as someone to look up to; who was willing to serve something greater than himself.

Dennis receives several awards for his bravery and service in Afghanistan including the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
Maren Larson

SD soldier dies in bridge materials accident

The Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. — A South Dakota National Guard soldier serving in Afghanistan has died in a non-combat related accident, the South Dakota governor's office said Wednesday.

Spc. Dennis G. Jensen, 21, of Sioux Falls, died Tuesday from injuries suffered while working with bridge materials near Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to a statement from the governor's office.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends for their loss, and we offer our gratitude for Specialist Jensen's service to our state and nation," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in the statement.

Jensen, formerly of Vermillion, was struck by two steel bridge decking panels that fell from a forklift when a securing strap broke. He was rushed to Bastion Airfield Hospital but didn't survive, Daugaard's office said. Officials said Jensen was wearing all appropriate safety gear at the time. The accident remains under investigation.

The 200th Engineer Company is a multi-role bridging unit headquartered at Pierre, with detachments in Mobridge and Chamberlain. The unit deployed in May for a year-long mission to maintain, repair and replace military bridges throughout Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota Army National Guard, offered condolences to Jensen's family and friends.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Spc. Jensen's family, as well as all members of the 200th," Reisch said in a statement.

Jensen enlisted as a member of the 211th Engineer Company of Madison and De Smet, in which he served as a combat engineer. Jensen volunteered to deploy with the 200th as a bridge crew member in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This was his first deployment.

Jensen is survived by his mother, Christine Bestgen of Lead, father Glenn Jensen of Yankton and sister Melissa Jensen of Minneapolis, Minn.

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