Two Spokane County residents have been killed this month by homemade bombs while serving with the Army in Iraq, the Defense Department announced this week.
Sgt. Dariek Dehn, who was born in Spokane, grew up in the Spangle area and graduated from Liberty High School in 1993, was killed on June 2 in an explosion in Shakrat, the Pentagon reported Monday.
Cpl. Llythaniele Fender, of Medical Lake, was one of three soldiers killed Sunday in Karbala when an improvised explosive device hidden in a car exploded at a checkpoint.
Dehn, 32, joined the Army in 2002, and served as a cavalry scout, said Nancy Bourget, a Fort Hood spokeswoman. He had been with the 1st Cavalry Division since September 2005 and was deployed to Iraq with his unit last October.
The family is declining requests for interviews at this time, but in an obituary they prepared for publication today, Dehn was described as having a dedication and passion which inspired him to serve in the Army. He also had “an awesome sense of humor and a contagious smile.”
He grew up in Spangle, one of six children – three boys and three girls – of David and Marilyn Dehn.
He enlisted in 2002 and served in Korea, where he met his future wife, Mannylyn. They were married about 2 ½ years. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.
He received the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
He is survived by his wife and parents; brothers Dale Dehn, of Spokane, and David Dehn Jr., of Fort Hood; and sisters Sandy McTaggart, of Cheney, Terri Danielson, of Spokane, and Sherri Jeske, of Yelm, Wash. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Funeral Home, 508 N. Government Way.
Services are still pending for Fender, a 2004 graduate of West Monona High School in Onawa, Iowa, who moved to the Medical Lake area with his family after high school.
He enlisted in the Army in October 2004 and was stationed in Korea in 2005 with the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, which relocated to Fort Lewis in April 2006. His unit was sent to Iraq in February.
Fender’s family declined interview requests at this time but released a brief statement Tuesday, saying he was “a wonderful son and brother with a huge heart who served his country with great pride.”
The family praised other men and women in service overseas and in the United States. “As our son would say ‘Rock on ‘till the end,’ ” they added.
Fender’s MySpace page on the Internet carries a message that he has gone “from the sands of hell!! (Iraq)!! On wings of Angels to Heaven.” On it, he thanked his parents “for raising a son who will go through hell, high water, sand storms and anything to get home.”
During his career he received the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Also killed in the explosion were Cpl. Meresebang Ngiraked, of Koror, Palau, another member of the 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and Spc. Adam Herold, of Omaha, Neb., a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry, from Fort Richardson, Alaska.