Sunday, May 06, 2007

Katie M. Soenksen dies of injuries from I.E.D.

DES MOINES (AP) -- A 19-year-old Davenport woman was killed in an explosion in Iraq, family members said Thursday.

U.S. Army Pfc. Katie Soenksen, a 2005 graduate of Davenport North High School, was conducting a security mission Wednesday in Baghdad when her convoy was attacked, said her father Ronald Soenksen.

Katie Soenksen is the third Iowa woman to die in Iraq and the second Iowa soldier to die in Baghdad in the last five days. Army Pfc. Brian Botello, 19, of Alta, was killed in combat on Saturday.

Katie Soenksen's father said she arrived in Iraq last summer and was due back home in June. She was part of the 410 Military Police based in Fort Hood, Texas, he said.

"She was determined in everything she did in her life," Ronald Soenksen told The Associated Press. "She was determined to make a difference."

Ronald Soenksen said he last talked to her on Tuesday and that she told him she was preparing for a mission the next day. On Wednesday afternoon, the Army visited his home to tell him she was dead.

Despite his loss, the father said he supports the mission in Iraq and never tried to discourage his daughter from joining the Army.

"She was on a mission," he said. "She wanted to go over there and keep (the war) on foreign soil. That was her main goal."

In a letter posted on a Department of Defense Web site, Katie Soenksen thanked Americans for supporting the troops and acknowledged the difficulty of leaving home.

"Being deployed is one of the hardest things to do," according to the letter posted on . "But being here makes me realize how good we have it in America. Even though being over here is hard I'm glad I'm over here. ... Just seeing how some of them are living just hurts me inside."

Her father said she was influenced by her godfather and niece, who both joined the military. She prepared herself for an Army career by joining the ROTC in high school, he said.

"She loved it," Ronald Soenksen said. "She knew what she was doing when she got into it."

He said his daughter believed she was doing good in Iraq and that she was upset about how the media was portraying the situation.

He said it was natural to feel some fear for his daughter's safety, but she often "talked about how much fun she was having."
From the Sioux City Journal