Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Leavenworth soldier dies in Iraq; death under investigation

August 1, 2007

A Leavenworth soldier died last week while serving in Iraq, bringing a tragic story heard nightly on the news a little closer to home.

Sgt. Courtney Dean Finch died in Qayyarah, Iraq, from an unknown noncombat related cause. An investigation is under way.

Graveside services for Finch, 27, will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. A reception will follow at 11 a.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 56, 519 Cherokee, Leavenworth.

Finch was born June 8, 1980 in Baldwin, Wis. In July 2001, he enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard with Company C, 1st Battalion 635th Armor, Lenexa, as a Tank Crewman. He completed his Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Advanced Individual Training in Fort Knox, Ky.

Finch had more than six years of military service. He deployed with the 1st Battalion, 635th Armor to Kosovo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of Task Force Falcon and the United States NATO commitment in the Balkans from October 2004 to February 2006. In June 2006 he deployed with the 714th SECFOR to Iraq in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where they are currently providing force protection.

His awards include Army Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device and the German Army Marksmanship - Silver.

Surviving family include his father David Finch; mother Anne Suckow; sisters Joy Jursch and Suanne Gardner; grandmother Penny Cooksy, step-grandmother Joan Lindquist and several other family members. A brother, Spencer Martin Finch, died earlier.

Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman with the Kansas National Guard, said Finch's family members were not speaking to the media before the funeral.

The family suggests memorials to the Kansas Military Emergency Relief Fund, 2800 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka 66611.

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