Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army CWO Hans N. Gukeisen

31, of Lead, South Dakota.
Gukeisen 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.

Photo of Hans flying during Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 2003.

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"Hans, I'll never forget our last conversation over that fire, and that last sunset. I no longer mourn your loss but I have come to thank God that I was able to serve along side such a great man. Thank you for everything."
CPT Ted H. Snyder of Colorado Springs, CO

""To the family of Hans N. Gukeisen ,I am so sorry for the loss of your love one.He died a hero.May you know the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need someone to pray with you or talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church,Rev John B Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015""

"I had the privlage of knowing Hans Gukeisen as a "bean" when he first arrived to 4/7th Cav 3rd Plt as a Pvt. He seemed out of place amongst a platoon with a prior reputaion for underachivement and drunken barracks fights. The kid was straight as an arrow and was better suited for the Special Forces then "The Bandit Platoon". And oh yea, we teased him for that but loved him as one of our own in no time. I met his dad once when he came to Germany to visit him. I admired (more like envied) the bond they had. I have a 5 year old boy now and my heart breaks for Hans' family. My life is better for knowing you Hans."
Aldrin Mora of Los Angeles,CA/USA

"Hello to all who have the pleasure of knowing Hans:
I personally know Hans from the beginning of his warrant officer career in W.O.C.S. during that time he impressed myself and many others by single handedly composing our class song to the tune of Jimmy Buffets' "Margaritaville".He would always bring that calmness after the storm of our TAC officers with a little comic relief.
I will always remember him as a comedian and a professional.
May his memory always live on!"
CW2 Michael Espinoza of Brick, NJ

"January 12, 2008
To the family of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Hans N. Gukeisen:
Hans 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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF, but als for your service in Desert Storm as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Scouts Out!"

"TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO KNEW HANS AND HIS FAMILY. I served with Hans in 1/4 CAV in Germany. He was one of the smartest, funniest, loyal guys I ever knew. His goal is life was to fly birds, and we were all proud that he made it to do so. I had many a beer and great time with him, and I am glad I knew him... I am sure that i am better for it."
Brian Turner of Merced, Ca United States

"It has been a while since I have looked upon the memorial and words posted by so many over a fellow soldier and hero above any meaning of the word hero. As all can attest to, Hans while serving as an honorable 19D Cavalry Scout all around the world always wanted just to become a helicopter pilot. I was notified of his passing originally by another soldier who had served along his side as well, SSG Brian Walker.

I can say of his morale, his espirit de corps and loyalty to the US policies were of the highest caliber. He wasn't just a fellow soldier, but a true friend who always carried that smile. If you were lucky enough, you even got to see his "Stone Face".

To the friends and families affected by his demise in helping others, I can only lend the words above about his character and strength. It is never enough, but words mean so much when a soldier has moved on. One day I too, will see him upon the Fiddler's Green.

CPT Donnelly, it is good to see others like yourself that I personnally know put in such words of a fellow soldier you have served with side by side.

Joseph Schein of Jacksonville, FL

"To the family of Hans N. Gukeisen:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"I want to thank Hans the friendship that he showed the Burleson famliy, Hans till we meet again"
SSG(ret) Brian Burleson of Fayetteville, Nc

"I did not have the privilege of knowing Hans, but feel close to him. I wear a Hero bracelet with his name on it and I will never take it off. I am a medical professional and it really hit me hard when I saw what he did while serving his/our country. Such a young man with such a sweet face. I feel so sad for his family and friends that have been left behind. I thank you and your son for all that you have given and I pray for you all. Hans is flying with the angels now."
Jeanne of Texarkana, TX

"Hans was my friend,

I first met Hans at the Schwienfurt Barracks Weight Room, he was big into bench pressing contest. The guy had a huge dip of tobacco in his mouth with a tank top on and he had a TATTOO of Hg on his shoulder. I said, "Are you Mercury?” He said, "Nooooo-WHA (laughing and grinning), that is my initials, my name is Hans Gukeisen". So we talked and he told me he was in the first Gulf War, how his Jeep had rolled down a hill, and how he wanted to be a chopper pilot. To make the long story short we became good friends. We traveled to Heidelberg, Berlin, Munichen, Budaggen, and ect while stationed together in Germany. I got out of the US Army in 99. We stayed in touch and visited time to time when he would pass through Tennessee. In 2001-2003 May, I was in the Middle East as a Military Contractor training different Militaries. I ran into some CW's Pilots on Doha and asked them, "do you know Hans Gukeisen?” they replied, "Yes, I think he is in Turkey" this was before the invasion of Iraq and before the US Army was asked to leave Turkey. I never did see Hans in the Middle East. I left the Middle East around the 1st of May 2003. Today FEB 03, 2005 I was looking for Han's address in order to call him and see what he was into. My Internet Search Engine takes me to this page. I'm still in disbelief. I've also been up all night shocked. I will always remember Hans as a GREAT Friend, who would always help you out and stand beside you in any time of need. I will also remember a saying Hans told me that will drive me for the rest of my life;

Hans Told Me:
"Dying By Doing What You Love Is Not Tragic",
"Tragic is Dying Without Ever Getting A Chance To Do What You Love""
Josh Robertson of Johnson City TN

"I and many others who served with Hans with the 7th Cavalry in the early 90's remember his great potential as a young soldier and his fine qualities as a human being. While his life was short, he accomplished more than most ever can imagine as he touched the lives of so many young soldiers during his career. Our deepest sympahties go out to his family and friends. He will not be forgotten! Everytime we proudly say the words "GarryOwen" we each shall think of Hans along with each of the other heroes whom we have served with whom have paid the ultimate sacrafice so that our children and our nation may live in peace and carry on our way of life. From Hans' friends from the 7th Cav and Budigen Germany -- GARRYOWEN, FELLOW CAV TROOPER CWO HANS GUKEISEN."
MAJ(P) Matt Weingast of East Windsor, NJ

"To a great friend - You will always be a hero. Fly high my friend."
Tony Merkel of Lead, SD

"I am the mother of Cpt. Chris Soelzer, a fallen soldier of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There are no words, just tears for our sons who gave their lives in the name of freedom. I hope some day, we can join together for coffee and give each other a hug. I pray for your other son who is now serving overseas. God bring him home safely."
Delain Johnson of Sturgis, SD USA

"hans has been a friend of mine for years. i had worked with him at the silverado. he wasn't totally happy there. that's why he reenlisted. he always wanted to be back in the military. hopeful to someday be able to fly helecopters. he once said, "if i ever get shot down, i hope i die...there ain't no parachutes on a chopper. i don't want to be a fn cripple"." it was the first time i even thought about something like that. God that man loved to fly. no fear, totaly in control. i really believe he left doing what he loved to do. be proud of him, i am. i sure miss my friend. i will never forget Hans. and he will always be one of my heros."
aaron jiran of deadwood, sd

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier! We will NEVER FORGET!!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN (5/2004)

"To the family and friends of Hans, I did not know him long but we had met on Fort Rucker during flight school he was very good friends with our neighbor and we had many fun summer nights. I have recently lost my husband CW2 Wells in a helicopter crash in Iraq my heart goes out to you always remember how loved Hans was!"
Mrs. T Wells of Ft Carson CO

"Low Flight"

Dedicated to Hans N. Gukeisen

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

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Hans, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

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

"Our prayers are with your Family and Friends.May God bless you and your loved ones and help them during this time of grief.You will never be forgotten.leogandalexg@yahoo.de"
Family SFC Leo Gukeisen of Wuerzburg/Germany

"Thank you Hans Gukeisen, 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

"Hans came into our lives while attending Warrant Officer and Flight School with our son. The two were inseperable. We got to know Hans from his many visits to our home and weekend outings to the river. Our grandchildren called him Uncle Hans as he became a member of our family. He often talked of his home in S. Dakota. He was a fine young man, who was admired and respected by all that knew him, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have shared but a little of his short life. Even so, we have come to think of him as one of the family. We were deeply sadden to hear of his loss. Our deepest condolences to his family."
Pat and Kathy Herring of Enterprise, Alabama

"To the Family and Friends of Hans Gukeisen,
I am devastated to discover the loss of this great officer. I met him in Germany in 1997 with a friend, Josh Robertson. I was a new lieutenant and he was always a friendly and good humored person to be around. We took a trip to Berlin together. We were also in the same Cavarly squadron. He was a great scout and dreamed of becoming a warrant officer helicopter pilot. I'm proud that he achieved his dream. I'm also proud though deeply saddened to say that I knew a true hero who honorably lossed his life serving his country."
Wayne Mahoney of San Diego, CA

"To the family and friends of CWO Hans Gukeisen. I remember pulling duty with Mr. Gukeisen at Ft.Carson and Ft.Bliss. He was a great person just to be around, his stories, insites on things and his jokes. He really made time fly for me when it seemed to drag on. Talking about his car and racing, kicking back on first up watching movies, sharing laughs. Hans will be greatly missed and my deepest sympathy goes out to Cwo Hans Gukiesen's family for their tragic loss.
Sgt Dale E. Hlavacek
Flight Medic
45th Med Co (AA)
Katterbach Germany"
Dale Hlavacek of katterbach Germany

"To the friends, and most importantly the family of Hans Gukeisen--
The pain of your loss cannot be assuaged with words. However, know that your friend and and son will be dearly remembered by all.
I had the privelage of serving with then Sergeant Gukeisen as part of C Troop, 1-4 CAV, in Schweinfurt Germany. I was the Platoon Leader of 1st platoon, and he was in 3rd platoon. I remember when he told me about his dream to become a pilot, the days spent on gunnery range at training events. I was so proud of him the day he left for Warrant Officer Candidate School.
Hans Gukeisen was a consumate professional, a premier NCO, and although I never saw him as a Warrant Officer, I have no doubt that he performed his duty to the end in the same manner in which I remember him.
It was my privelage to have served with him."
CPT Mark Donnelly of Atlanta, Georgia

"To the family and friends of CWO Hans Gukeisen:
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 Hans 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 Hans 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

"To the family and friends of Chief Warrant Officer Hans Gukeisen:
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 Hans, 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