|From Albany Oregon, Democrat-Herald
Soldier from Albany killed on patrol in Iraq
By Cathy Ingalls
Army Pfc. Kory D. Wiens, a 2005 graduate of West Albany High School, was killed last week in Iraq while on patrol with his dog, Cooper.
Wiens, 20, was serving with the Army’s 94th Engineer Detachment based at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Department of Defense has not released the circumstances surrounding the incident last Thursday in which Wiens was killed, but has confirmed the death.
Wiens’ brother Kevin, also serving in Iraq, is escorting his brother’s body to Oregon along with Cooper’s, said West Principal Susie Orsborn, who has talked to Wiens’ father, Kevin, now of Dallas in Polk County. She said the father has declined to talk with the press.
“This is the fourth member of our school family to die in Iraq,” Orsborn said. “It’s just so sad. I want to make sure the family knows that the school’s thoughts are with Kory.”
Orsborn said Wiens’ father asked that owners of reader boards in Albany remember his son by saying something about him.
According to a news story written by an Army public affairs writer and posted on the Internet last March, Wiens and his dog were trained to find materials such as TNT, detonation cords, smokeless powder, mortars, weapons, tools and explosive residue used to make explosives.
Wiens’ wrestling coach at West, Gene D’Agostini, recalled Wiens as a “very hard worker who had a lot of ability.”
Friend Angela Jones had known Wiens since their freshman year.
“I met him through Ashley Soto, and we were like the Three Musketeers. We were great friends,” she said. “He was really funny, sarcastic and ornery. He got along with just about everyone, and he was very helpful.”
Another friend, Jessica Frieze, said Wiens’ dream was to be in the Army. “He was an honorable and great person,” she said.
Melissa Corrick said Wiens could make anyone smile, and Danniel Butler said he was “an all-around great guy who was always carrying a smile, and he was always in a good mood. No matter what happened, he always looked on the bright side.”
Soto recalled his humorous side: “I can remember when we were being our dorky selves and he decided to steal our Cheetos. He took them and jumped into a cat bed and curled into a ball and ate them.”
A service time for Wiens has not been set.
The last known former West student to die in Iraq was Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Troyer, who died in 2005. Staff Sgt. Kevin Davis, a 1982 graduate, also died in 2005, while Spc. Joseph M. Blickenstaff died in 2003.