Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army CWO Brian K. Van Dusen

39, of Columbus, Ohio.
Van Dusen was onboard an UH-60 air medical helicopter which crashed in the Tigris River in a non-hostile incident near Samarrah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 571st Air Medical Company, Fort Carson, Colorado. Died on May 9, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army CWO Brian K. Van Dusen.

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"My name is Bill and I reside in Southern California. I am riding my motorcycle in my 6th annual West Coast Thunder, sponsored by Riverside Harley Davidson. This year they have teamed up with RASF (Rear Area Support Foundation) Each rider is sponsoring one of Americas Fallen Heroes. My hero is Brian K. Van Dusen. It is a priviledge and an honor to be riding in his memory. I have read the many messages regarding Brian, and it is clear to see that he was very loved and extremely missed by all that knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with Brian's family, but please know that he will never be forgotten and he is an American hero that me and my family will hold close to our hearts."
Bill Drachslin of Riverside, California

"Seems every year since I left active duty I find myself returning to this site. Brian was the first pilot I had the honor to fly with, my first duty and first mission as a young 2LT in the 57th Med Co. It saddens me greatly but fills me with a lifelong pride to have known and served with you. One day we will meet again in the cockpit and share some venison jerky. You and your family will always be in my thoughts. Brothers in arms."
Former 1LT Fred Stauffer of Cottage Grove, MN

"When my mother told me what happened i was in tears for weeks. Its been really hard for me to not have a father figure in my life, but I do the best that I can to keep his memories alive with the whole family. Now that I'm 16 and I was only 6 when it happened i would say that I'm doing a good job and I love to help out all the other families and I sit down and talk to all the teens about what I did and how I got past all the songs and all of the poems. Most of the things I tell other Teens what i did they go ahead and try it within the next year they come up to my and tell me that some of the ideas worked. When I hear that I feel like I'm being a great help to others and I think about how my FATHER would react or say to me of all the work I've put in to help other people. I will always have that spot in my heart that will hurt, because It NEVER goes away it will stay there for a lifetime. I LOVE YOU DADDY, I WILL DO MY BEST IN SCHOOL AND TAKE GOOD CARE OF MOMMY AND MY LITTLE BROTHER!!!!!!!!!!XOXOXOXOXOXOXO"
Angel Van Dusen of Colorado Springs

"I was reading the Columbus Dispatch the other day and they had a multi-page article about the fallen soldiers of Ohio. I looked down and thought, Wow - that looks like a friend I had not seen since high school...when I read further and found out it was him - it was Brian - It was as if someone put a knife in my heart - I can't stop thinking about him being gone. I remember hanging out in VOL with Brian as if it were yesterday. Brian is a really great friend who would do anything for anyone. Brian is an extremely funny guy...always trying to crack people up and make life fun and exciting. Through the years I have often thought of him, knowing and having the confidence he would have many achievements and he would do work that was meaningful and important. He wasn't like many of the other kids we grew up with - he was going to do great things! I agree with the other messages...to Brian's wife and kids...although short, you were fortunate to have such a great person in your lives.
Cheers my friend - - you are greatly missed! Mary"
Mary of Ohio

"CW3 Bria K. Van Dusen, I miss you brother! Not many days go by that I don't think of you. I am one month from retirement and I just want to say that I no longer mourn your loss but I thank God that I was able to serve along side a man like you. It was an honor."
CPT Ted H. Snyder of Colorado Springs, CO

"I was on Brian's team the entire deployment. I best remember him waking me up to watch the sun rise with a "cup of joe." He always kicked my cot in the morning to say get up CAV! We would talk about his family and his boys riding the ATVs. He will always be sorely missed by the Army and myself as well."
SGT Cavanaugh, Robert D. "CAV" of FT Carson, Colorado

"I served two years with Brian in the 571st. Brian didn't have to be where he was when he died, he chose to be with us. I don't have the words. Still miss ya Man."
K. Kinoff of Fountain CO

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH / USA

"I knew Brian as the life of the party a great friend hunting partner and allways fun to hang with.He allways told me to get up you will have time to sleep when you die,well it makes me sad that your asleep but sleep well my friend"

"I served with Brian Van Dusen when I first became a BlackHawk pilot. It was the 57th Medevac, Ft. Bragg, NC. He flew with me when I was still wet behind the ears, laughing at my eagerness to always go fly, and he calmly helped me overcome my mistakes. It is because of him and many more like him that I am the pilot I am today. I remember him inviting me to his house for my first BBQ when I got to the unit. Quick with a laugh and a beer, he made quite an impression on this young pilot. Brian, you may be gone, but you will NEVER be forgotten. I miss you, buddy, and I know your family does as well. Here's hoping they have BlackHawks in Heaven, cuz I know you'll be flying one!"
Dave Mozden of K16, Korea

"Bridget, you probably dont remember me but I was a close friend of your mother when she lived in white city, I only met you and brian a few times, I am so so sorry for your loss, I was very sad to see your parents move away, but I know you needed them. last I had talk to your mom she said you were going to continue school, I hope that helped you cope with your loss. I would love to get back in touch with your mom and would love to talk with you as well please contact me by e-mail (yrkssunflower1970@yahoo.com) your friend marla"
marla godbout of charleston south carolina

"January 12, 2008
To the family of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian K. Van Dusen:
Brian gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"CWO Van Dusen,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF, but also for your service 12 years earlier in during Operation Provide Comfort in Northern Iraq as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike C. of El Paso, Texas

"On Memorial Day our church dedicated the service to our fallen servicemen. We were given flags with names on them. We planted them in a field of flags - and prayed for the family. We remembered you that day and will continue to pray for you as the flags will fly through July 4th. May God give you peace as only He can. what a hero Brian was to give his life serving our country!"
Dan and Ruth of Orlando, Florida

"I was stationed and worked with Brian Van Dusen back at Fort Riley Kansas, before he became a pilot. I was shocked to hear of his accident. Brian was liked by all who came in contact with him. I have a lot of great memories in which we shared. I was so proud to hear of his accomplishments. All he ever wanted to do was to become a pilot, and help people. And most of all he loved his family. He made a big difference in my life at that time. And oh yes the fishing trips! Brian was a qreat friend. See ya bud!! "CHEERS""
Anonymous please of FT. Riley, Kansas

"I never knew Brian, but I've heard a lot about him. He sounds like an awesome person, he fought for his country and risked his life. I love his nephew, Donavon Campuzano, and always will. I will always be there for him. He tells me everything about Brian and I love that he can talk to me about it. He has a lot of feelings toward the situation and he puts it out there in his own way. For anyone who knew Brian and or knows Donavon, Brian will always be his hero and I never get tired of hearing about it. God Bless the family members of Brian K Van Dusen"
Amber Oliver of White City, KS

"My Uncle was a very brave man. he was a man that knew how to get the best out of people. he also never gave up on anything or on anyone He is and alway will be my hero"
Donavon Robert Campuzano of White City, Kansas USA

"I never really got to know Brian, but I went to school with his wife, Bridgette. I know that she is a very strong willed person and misses her husband everyday. I am greatful for the service that Brain did for our country and sorry that he is no longer with us. Anyone that services our country now or in the past is a hero in my heart. I am hoping that this gets to Bridgette and we can reconnect. Please contact me at brandlyn2000@yahoo.com"
Brandi (Coade) Petrel of Auburn, KS

"I am trying to locate Brian's wife and family. I have a memorial piece that I have stitched for them. Laurel/Amherst, Ohio"
Laurel Bowman of Amherst, Ohio

"To the family of:Brian K. Van Dusen I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"GOD BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU"
EDWARD VAN DUSEN of JONESTOWN PA

"I served with Mr. Van Dusen at 57th Air Ambulance. I was in Iraq for less than a week when I read in the paper out the crash. He was a great soldier, awesome pilot and just a good guy to sit around a talk with. I still think of him everytime I pass his old home in NC. You will never be forgotten."
SFC Mary Hampton (Cartier) of Linden, NC

"To the soldier that made my heart smile. To the soldier that flew my Blackhawk. To the soldier that will always be an inspiration and a significant loss to me. To the soldier that gave his life for my freedom. To this soldier...thank you. To this soldier.. I will never forget you.""
A flight medic in 571stAA. US ARMY Retired of Colorado Springs. CO, USA

"In today's mail, I received a "hero bracelet" with the name of Brian Van Dusen on it. I have just been reading the first handful of hundreds of articles to be found online regarding him. I am honored to keep his memory alive. The world is a brighter place for his having been among us"
Mark V. of Cleveland, Ohio USA

"I have read every post here, and have had a hard time trying to post. I've typed this out many times, just to delete it, because I felt it wasn't good enough.
When I first met Brian, he was dating my sister(Bridgette). I, the over protected brother, sought him out(It was an interesting meeting..LOL..). Since that day, I got to know Brian, and what he was about. His love of life, His love of my sister, his childeren, his childeren to be, his family(immediate and outlaw). and his never ending persuit of happieness that he shared with everyone he came in contact with, whether it was hunting, camping, fishing, flying, soldiering, NASCAR or what ever.

I actually got the privilage to fly with him, when I was a PFC stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA. and we visited, when B&B were at Ft. Bragg. That day I got to see his passion for flying.

I learned alot about him, and alot from him.

The following poem, is what I feel Brian would say to all of us.

IMPRESSIONS OF A PILOT
Flight is freedom in its purest form,
To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;
To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,
To feel the joy that swells within;
To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,
And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;
Then back to earth at the end of a day,
Released from the tensions which melted away.
Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;
Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge that I'd do it again;
For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
I was born to fly.
Gary Claud Stokor

Brian, we love and miss you.
Thank you for being a part of our lives."
Anthony Frank Campuzano of Leavenworth, Kansas USA

"I Love you Bridgette, Angel, Joeseph
You're in my prayers and in my heart always!!!"
Kelly of Vermilion OH USA

"I'd like to start off by saying thank all of you for your kind words. Brian was my dad, the greatest man I've ever known! Of course those of you who knew him know what a wonderful person he was. It's been over a year since that fateful day that God took him from us and I still can't beileve that my daddy is gone. Losing him has really made a traumatic impact on my life. I just wish I could have just one more day with him. All I have are memories and that isn't fair. And it makes my heart heavy to know that his two youngest children will never be able to even have that much. I feel honored to be able to say that CWO3 Brian K. Van Dusen is my father, but I'm not honored to say that he died for this God forsaken country. I just have one more thing to say to whomever reads this and that is - don't ever take a single day with your loved ones for granted, cause they might not be there tommorrow. I send all my love to the family, you're all in my heart always!
I'M THINKING OF YOU ALWAYS DADDY!
I LOVE YOU MY DADDY
P.S. CPT Garcia Jr. Thank you for your kind words and may God be with you."
Kelly Van Dusen of Vermilion, OH USA

""Brian would have been 41 today.Usually I would call him, if he wasn't away on duty.We would laugh and plan our next nascar race together.It usally included camping at the track as a family and enjoying our time together,since his duties not only included his family but his country. Instead I am reading all the wonderful things that others have to say about him. It is very comforting to know he has touched others as he has touched his family. I miss him every day and will forever. Happy Birthday Bro..."
Vicky of Charlotte, NC

"Brian would have been 41 today.Usually I would call him, if he wasn't away on duty,We would laugh and plan our next nascar race together.It usally included camping at the track as a family and enjoying our time together,since his duties not only included his family, but his country. Instead I am reading all the wonderful things that others have to say about him. It is very comforting to know he has touched others as he has touched his family. I miss him every day and will forever. Happy Birthday Bro..."
Vicky of Charlotte, NC

"It is an honor for me to have known and flown with Brian. We flew together in Germany and in Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort. I was fortunate enough to see him again for Peacekeeper '95 at Fort Riley, KS. I have many great memories of Brian and he will always be with me. God speed."
CW3 Ken Seanard of McKinney, TX

"Low Flight"

Dedicated to Brian K. Van Dusen


Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth,

And Hovered out of Ground Effect on Semi-Ridgid Blades.

Earthward I've Auto'ed, and met the Rising Brush of Non-Paved Terrain;

And done a thousand things you would never care to.

Skidded and Dropped and Flared Low in the Heat Soaked Roar.

Confined there, I've chased the Earthbound Traffic

And Lost the race due to Insignificant Headwinds.

Forward and up a Little in Ground Effect,

I've Topped the Admirals hedge with drooping turns,

Where never SkyHawk nor even Tomcat Flew.

Shaking and Pulling Collective, I've Lumberd

The Low untresspassed Halls of Victor Airways;

Put out my Hand, and Touched a Tree.

Today Brian you Fly with Angels. Thank you for your Dedication and Sacrifice. "Godspeed Chief..."
Dennis B. Dray MAJ (R) ARNG of Tucson, AZ

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Brian, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge
from Montana "

"Warrant Officer Van Dusen, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Just to let you know, that I remember that day. I recieved a call from my son, Wilder Morey who was on that mission. He had made attempts to rescue these boys and I listened helplessly to his voice as he relayed to me the detail of the events that took place that day. Theres not a day that goes by that I don't relive that event and it
's out come. I pray that as the days go by, you can visit memories with fondeness and not so much sadness as your experiencing today. Your in our prayers."
kathy mckeever of Warroad, Mn USA

"Bridgette, Please know my heart will always be with you and I am sorry you had to go through all this pain. I remember at Jesses service at Ft. Carson when I walked out they were talking about your husbands death. I could only think oh god not again. I am happy I have got to meet you and wanted to let you know that my door is always open to you and yours. Anytime."
Melissa Givens of Fountain Colorado USA

"I'm very sorry to learn of Brian's death. Brian and I served together in Germany and Iraq in 1991. Fresh out of flight school, Brian served as my co-pilot in a UH-60 when we led the the farthest self deployment of an AH-64 Cavalry Squadron up until that time. Our mission took us from Giebelstadt (near Wurzburg), Germany through France, Monaco, Italy, across the Adriatic Sea to Greece, Turkey and finally to Zakhu, Iraq. There we established a base camp with a U.S. Marine detachment in support of Operation Provide Comfort, the defense and rescue of Khurdish tribespeople. Brian did an excellent job. Imagine yourself right off the boat from Ft. Rucker and then finding yourself navigating and piloting a lead aircraft flying low-level from Western Europe to Southwest Asia!

Brian possessed true natural skills and abilities as an aviator and he'll be sorely missed in that regard. More importantly are the attributes that he possessed as a friend and an individual. I will always remember his sense of humor and calm demeanor. Some people felt that Brian was too shy and quiet given the environment that we were in. I disagreed with them then and still do. I defended him by telling them that when things go bad in the cockpit, calm is a good thing. Brian didn't excite very easily and always made a good decision as a result of that. When I read that he insisted on deploying with his unit to Iraq rather than taking an assignment to Germany, I was not surprised. He wanted to be with his friends to do what they trained to do together and make a contribution. That is Brian.

To his children: Be very proud of your father...he was a good man and a good friend.

Wings of the Marne!"
CW3 Chuck Sage (ret.) of Olympia, WA

"Thank you Brian Dusen, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"My heartfelt sympathies to the loved ones of Chief Van Dusen - especially his children. I personally delivered the notice of Chief Van Dusen's unfortunate loss to his children, in Ohio, and will not soon forget that tragic blow to them. I am also a father and now I am currently on my way to Iraq - I have learned to cherish the time I have on this earth with my two wonderful children, partially as a result of having to personally witness the terrible news I presented to Chief Van Dusen's loved ones. Every soldier serving is special and those who pay the ultimate price are truely American heroes - Chief Van Dusen is one of those heroes. God Bless you & your family Chief."
CPT Ferdinand Garcia, Jr. of Ohio Army National Guard

"It is odd how so many things change with time, except the memory of a dear friend. I, like Todd below, had the opportunity to serve with Brian during Operation Provide Comfort. I think I was lucky in that I flew with Brian from Germany to Iraq on, if I remember correctly, what was a five to six day flight. In addition I spent many hours flying with him, as a crew chief once we arrived in Iraq. I remember him as being kind, funny and understanding as I was fairly new to the Army let alone all that was going on around us. My heart goes out to the family of Brian, God Bless."
Brian Maynard of Thompson, CT

"I am a Van Dusen....and my father was a CWO2 at Fort Carson in the late 70's....my heart goes out to CWO3 Van Dusen's family....just remember, my favorite saying (being a 1990 Navy Gulf war Vet) "Freedom, has a taste that those who have never fought for it, shall never know" God bless and I hope the best for Warrant Officer Van Dusen's family"
Rich Van Dusen of Lancaster, CA

"I served with Brian at the 57th Med Co (AA) at Fort Bragg. I remember his gentle manner, his wonderful sense of humor and how much he loved to fly. My heart goes out to his wife and young children... I will carry him always in my heart."
Charlotte (Ross) Russell of Jacksonville, Florida

"Brian was a great person he loved his family and children with all his heart it's sad to know that his small children will grow up not knowing what a great father they had..he is and always will be missed my his entire family especially his brother.
always in our hearts and on our minds
His Sister-in-law"
carol of columbus, oh

"I was one of the crew chiefs first on scene of the crash. I wish that I could have done more for Brian, but I couldn't. I cant imagine the pain that Brian's family is going through right now. All I can do for any feeble attempts to console, is to let you know that I will always keep CW3 Brian Van Dusen, CW2 Hanz Gukheisen, and SGT Richard Carl in my heart and their families in my prayers. To three soldiers who gave the ultimate price for freedow, God bless."
Spc Wilder Morey of Iraq

"It is hard to lose a son, daughter, wife, husband, etc. There are no words to ease the pain. I am sorry for your loss. It pains me to read all the names. One could be mine or my family some day. I thank you and CWO Van Dusen for the selfless sacrifice in the face of danger in service to our country. I will not forget. Neither will my family.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Stahl Maj, NC, USAFRES"
Major Richard C. Stahl of Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.

"Brian and I served together during Operation Provide Comfort after Desert Storm while he and I were stationed in Germany. Although he was the pilot on many flights I crewed, I never got to know Brian as well as I wished I had. For a brief time I was a mail clerk and found out that not only was he a NASCAR fan, but a subscriber to Muscle and Fitness as well. Sorry it showed up in your mail a day late Brian. His memory will live on."
Todd Criswell of Jacksonville, FL

"To the family and friends of CWO Brian Van Dusen. I remember our time spent on 1st up at Ft. Carson as well as Ft.Bliss. The ritual would usually be grab a recliner, find a Nascar race on and veg. Which reminded me of my dad, we would spend hours upon hours wathcing Nascar races waiting for a mission. I remember meeting his son and finding out our sons were both born at Evans hospital only hours apart, that felt special to me. I talked with Brian briefly before clearing Carson on my way to Germany. Brian also was going to Germany a few months later and I was looking forward very much to seeing him again. Brian will be missed very much and I would just like to give my most sincere sympathy to Brian's family.
Sgt Dale E. Hlavacek
Flight Medic
45th Med Co (AA)
Katterbach Germany"
Dale Hlavacek of Katterbach Germany

"Brian would have been 40 today. We are deeply saddened by his passing. He volunteered to go, believed the way to a country was through its children. He is certainly missed."
Shonda of Columbus, OH

"To the family and friends of CWO Brian Dusen:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Brian for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"We thank you for the sacrafice Brian made for us. Our prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Thank you brave warrior!"
Ken and Maritza Holley of Pembroke Pines, Florida

"Brain will be missed greatly by all who knew him! He was brave to serve his country so greatly and unselfishly to give his own life so others could live there life in peace. He left behind children who love him deeply and they should be proud to call this soldier, Dad! God Bless his family as he has our country!!"
Sande Holsinger

"To the family and friends of Chief Warrant Officer Brian Van Dusen:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Brian, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera, of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on