Friday, May 05, 2006

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Wiekamp

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Wiekamp, 23, of Utopia, Texas

Sgt Wiekamp was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum N.Y.; died May 5 when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was traveling on crashed during combat operations east of Abad, Afghanistan, in the Kunar province. Also killed were: Pfc. Brian M. Moquin Jr., Spc. David N. Timmons Jr., Spc. Justin L. O’Donohoe, Sgt. John C. Griffith, Sgt. Bryan A. Brewster, Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten and Lt. Col. Joseph J. Fenty.

The Uvalde Leader
by Cerise Merritt - Staff writer

The stark realities of war officially touched the normally safe enclave of Utopia at 2 a.m. Sunday, when representatives of the U.S. Army knocked on the front door of Randy and Kathy Wiekamp.

Under the circumstances, the Wiekamps must have known they were about to hear tragic news, but with three of their four sons in the Army, they couldn't be sure just what it was.

They had to wait a moment to learn that it their oldest son, Jeff, who was dead.

Sergeant Jeffery Scott Wiekamp, 23, was one of the 10 soldiers killed Friday in the crash of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.

He was crew chief of the combat operation, part of campaign Operation Mountain Lion in Kunar Province.

Military officials have said about 2,500 Afghan and United States soldiers are involved in the joint campaign to flush militants from remote mountains in eastern Afghanistan.

The helicopter crash brought the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan this year to at least 25.

Although Taliban militants claim to have shot the helicopter down, U.S. officials have stated that there is no indication enemy fire caused the crash.

Wiekamp graduated from Utopia High School in 2001.

Sgt. Josh Wiekamp, 22, and Specialist Jared Wiekamp, 20, also graduated from Utopia High. Each of the three brothers joined the Army shortly after completing high school. Joey, 18, will graduate from Utopia High School in three weeks, and he's undecided about his future plans.

Jeff's wife, Ashley Brown, is a sergeant in the Army. His mother, Kathy, also has one brother, Sgt. Stephen Triner, and one brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Rollie Snow, in the Army.

Services for Jeff Wiekamp are pending, as family members await the arrival of his body.

In the meantime, community members are showing their support by wrapping trees with yellow ribbons and displaying U.S. flags across the town.

“Jeff started here when he was in third grade,” said teacher Lucille Wise. “He and my daughter, Kristi, were in the same class. He was such a sweet, shy kid.

“They were a very tight class, and everyone used to just try to draw him out and get him to talk. We're all going to miss him so much,” she added.

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Wiekamp was killed in action on 05/05/06.

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