Saturday, August 13, 2005

Army Specialist Brian K. Derks

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Brian K. Derks,21, of White Cloud, Michigan.

Spc Derks died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on mounted patrol. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, Fort Irwin, California.

Army Spc. Brian K. Derks was patrolling in Baghdad when he was fatally wounded, his parents said in a statement released through the Newaygo County Sheriff's Department.

Keith and Peggy Derks, who live in Wilcox Township, about 40 miles north of Grand Rapids, said the Army notified them of their son's death Saturday.

"We are all proud of Brian for his service to our country because it's been his dream," his family said in a statement.

In a news release issued Monday, the U.S. Department of Defense said Brian Derks was on mounted patrol Saturday when a homemade bomb exploded, killing him. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment at Fort Irwin, Calif.

Some family members gathered Sunday at Christ Lutheran Church near White Cloud for a news conference. Randy Derks, an uncle, spoke to reporters as an aunt held a picture of the fallen soldier.

"Brian is a hero to all who knew him," the uncle said. "We love him and will miss him."

Brian Derks joined the Army shortly after graduating from White Cloud High School in 2003, The Detroit News reported. He was a member of the school's football, baseball and quiz bowl teams.

He also was an Eagle Scout who went camping with the Boy Scouts while on leave from Iraq, Grand Rapids television station WZZM reported.

Ethan Ebenstein, superintendent of White Cloud Public Schools, recalled Derks as a strong role model who was active in the school and community.

"He was an above-average student who was involved in (the Boy Scouts) and had a strong sense of patriotism," Ebenstein told The Grand Rapids Press.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, issued a statement offering his condolences to Derks' loved ones.

"Specialist Derks was a brave man who sacrificed his safety and well-being to defend his country, and his memory will not be forgotten by those whose lives he touched," Hoekstra said.

Derks had "great pride" in his mission in Iraq, the family said. He enjoyed the camaraderie of other soldiers and e-mailed and telephoned his parents often.

"He often bragged about the Humvee he drove around Baghdad," his family said. "He loved doing so."

Army Specialist Brian K. Derks was killed in action on 08/13/05.


Anonymous said...

God Bless. We miss you. You will always be remembered.

nathan said...

I served with Brian in Iraq and was there with him and his crew the day he was taken from us. Brian was a great friend and a great brother in arms. I will always think of you Brian.