Remembering Five Minnesota Soldiers Who Paid the Ultimate Price
Memorial Day may have passed, but it is never the wrong time to remember those who gave their life in the service of the United States of America.
These people below are all from Minnesota. Rochester, Byron, and more. were killed on duty, but that's not all they are. They're not just soldiers who paid the ultimate price. They're loved ones, husbands, wives, children, dads, moms, family, and friends.
These people lived before the service and hoped to come home and live after the service. Adding their special something to their families, their communities, and the life of those around them.
Maybe on Memorial Day you meant to spend time honoring those the day is set aside for, so make today...make right now that time.
The biographies are in random order...and all come courtesy Military Times - Honor the Fallen.
Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis M. Swenson
20 years old from Rochester, Minn.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Cpl. Swenson, of Rochester, Mayo High School graduate class of 2007, died when an explosive device went off April 2, 2010, in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and had served in Iraq in 2008. Media at the time said Curis was spoken of as a "quiet listener" who befriended kids in the Bethel Lutheran Church youth group. He also played on the church softball team, hitting a grand slam his last at bat.
Survivors include his wife, Katie; parents, Dave and Kay Swenson; and his younger sister, Emily.
Air Force Maj. Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen
Special Agent (Major) Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen graduated from Wayzata High School, Plymouth,
Minn., in 1998. She began her career at the United States Air Force Academy where she graduated in May 2002 with a bachelor of science degree in Behavioral Sciences and received her commission as a second lieutenant.
Vorderbruggen died Dec. 21 near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, when her patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle.
She is survived by her father; three brothers; her wife, a USAF veteran whom she married in 2012, and their four year old son. (Source)
Army Sgt. Nicholas M. Dickhut
23, of Stewartville, Minn.; Dickhut was assigned to 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
23-year-old Army Sgt Nicholas M. Dickhut graduated from Stewartville High School and went on to Rochester Community and Technical College. He later was an Office Max supervisor before enlisting in the Army.
Reports at the time say he'd just called home to wish his little brother a Happy Birthday when he was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan. Before his tour of duty in Afghanistan, Dickhut served in Iraq in 2009.
Army Spc. Travis R. Bruce
22, of Byron, Minn.; assigned to the 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Arm Spc. Travis Bruce, a member of the Military Police, was killed on duty in Baghdad, Iraq Wednesday morning, March 23, 2005. Bruce, the first person from Rochester killed in the war, graduated from Mayo High School.
He comes from a military family, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin, "He came from a family of military police officers. His father, Kenneth Bruce, of Vancouver, Wash., recently retired after 25 years in the Army, and his great-uncle and grandfather were also MPs."
(The military website says both Byron and Rochester as a home-town).
Army Spc. Daniel James McConnell
27, of Duluth, Minn.; assigned to the 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
Army Spc Daniel McConnell a father of two girls, died while on patrol in Kirkuk (Northern Iraq) Novermber 16, 2004. The Humvee he was in rolled down an embankment.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, Duluth News Tribune. Brig. Gen. Ken Keen said, "He was one of the finest soldiers...He represented our Army and our nation with his spirit, activity and attitude..."
Reports at the time said McConnel, the oldest of five, lost his mother to cancer in 1992, and his father to diabetes in 1998.