Sunday, April 04, 2010

Army Sgt. Kurt E. Kruize

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Kurt E. Kruize, 35, of Hancock, Minn.

Sgt. Kruize was assigned to the 367th Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, St. Cloud, Minn.; died April 4, 2010 in Baghdad of wounds sustained in a noncombat-related incident.

Dad: Reservist loved civilian job, his 4 children

By Steve Karnowski
The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A 35-year-old soldier from St. Cloud who had four children died in Iraq a month after returning for his second tour of duty there, his father said.

Army Reserve Sgt. Kurt E. Kruize, 35, died April 4 in Baghdad of a noncombat-related injury, said his father, Lyle Kruize, of Hancock — the western Minnesota town where Kurt Kruize grew up.

Lyle Kruize said the Army hasn’t provided his family with further details about how his son died, but said that it is still investigating.

Kurt Kruize’s body arrived April 6 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. His wife, Billie Kruize, was flying back from Dover on April 7, his father said.

Funeral arrangements have not been set. Lyle Kruize said the Defense Department would fly his son’s body to St. Cloud once they are.

“I know one thing, he’s getting a full military funeral,” his father said.

Kurt Kruize was a 1993 graduate of Hancock High School, where he played football and basketball. He joined the Army Reserve when he was still in high school, Lyle Kruize said.

After graduating, he studied automotive mechanics at the technical college in Detroit Lakes and worked as a mechanic for several years. But he wanted to get out of that, and loved his job at the Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in St. Cloud, Lyle Kruize said. The company’s human relations director said he was a forklift operator.

Lyle Kruize said his son and Billie Kruize got married in 1996 and had four children, who are ages 13, 10, 5 and 2. The family had been living in St. Cloud for at least three or four years, he said.

“He loved spending time with those kids,” Lyle Kruize said. “He did a lot of things with those kids.”

He also liked to hunt and fish, and loved being in the military, his father said.

Kurt Kruize is also survived by his mother, Beverly Kruize, of Hancock, a brother and two sisters.

Army Sgt. Kurt E. Kruize was killed in a non-combat related injury on 4/4/10.

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