Friday, March 09, 2007

Shawn P. Rankinen dies of injuries from I.E.D.

An Independence man was killed Wednesday while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Shawn Rankinen, 28, grew up in Independence, attended Truman High School and spent several years in the Navy before joining the Army, a friend said.

Department of Defense officials had not confirmed Rankinen’s death Thursday night. But Amy Richardson, who described him as a best friend, said she learned of the death after his family had been notified.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” Richardson said. Serving in the military was “something he felt he was good at and really enjoyed.”

By Thursday, at least 10 people had signed on to Rankinen’s page to leave condolences. On the site, Rankinen said he was stationed out of Fort Hood, Texas, and that he was a tank mechanic.

Rankinen reportedly was traveling in a Humvee with two other troops when the vehicle encountered an explosive device.

The Defense Department issued a brief statement confirming the deaths of three soldiers Wednesday during a road-clearing operation outside of Baghdad but did not release their names, hometowns or units.

Richardson said she last saw Rankinen when he was in town for the Christmas holiday, and that he often sent her e-mails.

“He’s only been over there (in Iraq) about a week,” she said.

From the Star