Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Ken W. Leisten

20, of Cornelius, Oregon.
Leisten died in Taji, Iraq, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry, Corvallis, Oregon. Died on July 28, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Pfc. Ken W. Leisten.


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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"Kenny I still think of you everyday brother still feels like yesterday I remember you spinning my daughter kyra around when we lived at the coast well she is now almost 18 and she still remembers it too
I miss you"
Bryan gomes of Portland Oregon USA

"I will never forget you
You were my brother and my best friend"
bryan gomes of Portland Oregon usa

"Ken i still miss you this very day and always will i remember the 6 months we lived together at camp rialea working for mr mork i was an only child and you were my brother i miss you but you will never be forgotten"
bryan gomes of portland oregon usa

"I had the honor of spending some time with your son before he went to Iraq,. I help provide
medical support at Camp Rilea during training. I was at his service and wanted to thank you for your sacrific. I wear a KIA bracket as I know I will not forget this young man who left to soon."
Debbie of Lakewwod,Wa

"To the family of:Ken W. Leisten
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"2-18-11"

"I miss Kenny very much. Today Oma and I will go the cemetary where we live and go see the memorial plaque in your name that we put up for you. Happy Birthday to Kenny.love always and forever in my heart. Aunt Jenny"
Aunt Jenny of Hanford,Calif

"My husband was in the guard with Kenny, sadly I only met him a few times but Kenny is a very big part of our every day lives.

My husband was a pall bearer at Kenny's funeral and I was 9 months pregnant. On September 1st that year our youngest daughter was born, we named her Kendra after Kenny. As time went on other people began calling her Kenny the name stuck.

I am so sorry for your loss, I just want you to know how much he means to us and we remember him every day in our home."
Amber of Cornelius OR

"July 28, 2008: Today is the fourth anniversary of your death, my son, and it still hurts like hell. The burden doesn't get any lighter with time, but I am learning how to carry it with greater strength. I miss you terribly in this life, but I feel you are still with me in spirit, and I'll see you in the one beyond. I love you -- Mom."
Lisa LaBlanc-Willis of Lawrence, Kansas

"I just wanted to say Happy Birthday today Kenny. Today would have been your 24th birthday. I miss you so much. words could never say how we all feel. I love you kenny .Happy Birthday.Love Aunt Jenny"
Aunt Jenny of Hanford

"June 17, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Ken W. Leisten:
Ken 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 just wanted to send out my love to you Kenny. today I celebrated your 23rd birthday. you are always in my heart and soul I miss you very very much. your dad sent me pictures today from your graveside, you have some balloons and flowers it was very nice,I miss you little man."
Love Aunt Jenny of Hanford, calif

You know I have always loved you and I always will. You were one of my best friends and my first love. I know that circumstances were never in our favour, nobody ever knew how we felt about each other, and toward the end our contact was limited to e-mails, but I thought of you often and I know you thought of me. When I heard you had passed away I was not surprised because somehow I knew you were no longer with me and I would never see you again. I'm sorry I never got to say goodbye to you, and I will never forget you as long as I live. I still carry your picture with me wherever I go. I know see you in the next life, or wherever we end up.
I love you, always and forever."
Sara of Arkansas

"i remeber it was like yesterday.sitting in biology class next to this quiet boy that always wore headphones. there was a fire drill and we all had to walk outside and i dropped my backback and he picked it up for me and said hi. i was amazed that he could talk. then he started to bring new headphone to class so we both could listen to music during biology. then we started hanging out all the time and became best friends. we have lots of good memories together. im glad he was there for me during my teenage years. i dont know what i would of done without him. i remeber before he left to iraq he came to stay with me for a couple of days and we talked about going to some crazy island off the coast of spain when he got back form iraq. i wiil always miss him but im glad i got to know him as well as i did."
Bonnie of F.G. OR

"Kenny was my best friend in the whole world. i miss him very much. but im so proud of him for actually doing something he really wanted to do. i love him and always will"
Bonnie Boop of Forest Grove, Oregon

"In your honor.... remembering you and thanking you this 2006 Veteran's Day. My sympathy to his loved one. Rest in peace brave one."

"Well i never really knew Kenny, The last memory i had of him was from when i was like five when the whole family got together at our house. We have home videos of it i haven't watched since but he seemed so happy. I wish that i got to know him more then i did. The one thing he brought was everyone closer together since his death i havn't seen the LEISTEN family be as close as we are. I guess we have all realized we dont know when our last day is going to be and to cheerish eachother and every moment we get with one another. I love you Kenny and miss you dearly <3 you're in a better place now."
Alecia Leisten of Menifee, California

"I am Kurt Wagn Hansen from Copenhagen/Denmark. When the Leisten family here in Denmark heard of Kens death in Iraq, we were very sad. Kens dad is my cousin. In 1956-57 my danish favourite uncle Willy Leisten, Kens granddad, immegrated from Denmark to USA. After a turbulent life around in the States, among others he was a waiter in restaurant Scandia in Hollywood, he met a nice women and settled down in Sun Valley, CA. They got three kids - Jenny, Allen and Ken - my cousins. Unfortunately we have never met, but Jenny and I are in contact by mails. It was Jenny, who sent the sad message of Kens death. I am very impressed, that so many people have written so very much of Ken. May he rest in peace.
Love from
Kurt and wife Kirsten
Kurt Wagn Hansen of 2650 Hvidovre - Denmark

"There are not enough words to explain what a loss it has been for John and I, to not be able to have Kenny around everyday. To Ken Sr: you and I have become close because of your loss, and I only wish I could have done more. I know John misses Kenny more than he will ever admit, and they were "two peas in a pod". It has been over a year, and it never gets any easier. I can only hope that your memories grow fonder, as mine have. There will never be another that can take Kenny's place, in all of our lives - he was meant to do something tremendous, and in his short life he fulfilled that by affecting all of us who knew him. John and I will be getting married next spring, and if Kenny were here, you know he would be the one standing up next to John as his best man, because they were like brothers. I feel for every other family who has lost a loved one in this war, because the pain is almost too much to bear. I wish the best for the Leisten family, as they are a group of truly special people who lost a truly special young man."
Amanda Wells of Portland, OR (currently in Kuwait)

"Happy Birthday to my dear sweet Kenny boy,today Kelly and i will make a cake in honor of your birthday .it is your 21st birthday and i wish you could be here to celebrate it,i miss you so very very much, it hurts like hell.i hope that in those gates of heaven you are having a blast wathcing over all of us,I think of you daily with either a smile or a tear but it is good,i love you so much and know that one day we will be together,so i can hold you in my arms with a great big hug,i love you Kenny.Aunt Jenny"
Aunt Jenny of Hanford,Calif

"To Kenny and his family - we knew Kenny as a little boy - and a sweet little boy at that. He grew into a handsome man and a brave solder. May time soften the pain until all that remains is the beauty of the memories... and the love, always the love. God bless Kenny and all of his family and friends who miss him so terribly."
The Schatz Family of Portland, OR

"Kenny, although I never had the privilage of meeting you, I have come to know you through the loving eyes of your dear mother, Lisa. Thank you for your courage, your bravery and for your sacrifice. You made a difference."
Margaret of Lawrence, Kansas

"Kenny, your passing on in this world has left such a huge hole in our lives and we can't help but wonder what if? Your birth mother never stopped loving you even as she was searching for you. I wish I had the strength to talk to you when I first found you. All I have now is regrets. From talking to your friends and fellow soldiers I have learned much and yearned for much much more. You fought the good fight and now are with the Lord in peace.
"You will be forever in our hearts.""
David Strahan of Springfield, Oregon

"Dear Kenny, I love and miss you so much. I can't believe that you are gone! I see your pictures everyday. I have been going through all your albums, from the day your were born to eight days before you left us. I cherish the memory of our last phone conversation. I am so very proud of you!!!!! You are our last Leisten Man. May Grandpa Leisten, Grandpa Griffin and Great Grandpa Sonnichson take care of you in heaven. Love Grandma"
Trudy Leisten - Griffin of Hemet, Ca. / USA

"Oh my son, how I miss you. A mom knows she must let her son go out into the world, but she never expects to let him go to be taken from this world. I'll see you again someday though, on the other side. You may not be able to share the future with Becky and me here on this earth, but we will remember you, especially at those times when we had hoped to have you with us. We are so proud of you. The phone conversation we shared a couple of weeks before I received the heartrending news of your death is something I deeply cherish. I take you with me everywhere. I will love you always -- Mom."
Lisa LaBlanc-Willis of Lawrence, KS

"I'm so, so sorry for your loss and the obvious loss to us all"
Karen Bartlett Hood of Hermosa Beach, CA/USA

"To my sweet Kenny, we love you so much and wish that you could still be with us. You will always be in our hearts, we are so proud of what a young man that you became. You are our American Hero, I will miss hearing you say "Hey Aunt Jenny it's Kenny". I look at your email address and still want to write you. We loved you more than you would ever know, you were my sweet little boy and turned into my sweet young man, I will always keep you close to my heart. I love you Kenny. Your family, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Bill, Jake and Kelly."
Jenny Leisten Audrain of Hanford,Calif.USA

"To our beloved Kenny. Oh how we miss you. You are our hero. We will never know why God chose to take you home to him so soon. We are extremely proud of you, and know that you believed in what you were doing. May God rest your soul. Our hearts and thoughts will be filled with fond memories of you, our sweet little Kenny. May God Be With You Till We Meet Again. We Love You Kenny, Love Your Family"
Kathy Leisten of Menifee CA USA

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

"I never had the chance to shake your hand even though we were in the same unit. I hope I do your memory justice at the upcoming service. You make me proud to be a Guardsman. A Citizen Soldier you will always be. Thank you for your sacrifice so that others, you never knew, get the chance to taste freedom."
SGT James Moser of Tigard, Oregon/USA

"Private Leisten, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To Ken's family:
My deepest sympathies go out to your family for the loss of Ken. Our family has also lost a precious life in this battle for freedom who served in the National Guard. They are all true American heros. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time."
The McClain family---azquail@att.net of Tucson AZ

"To Ken's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To Ken's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your loved one's bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude.
May G-d provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten.
A grateful citizen and a Proud Marine Mom, (purplelily219@yahoo.com)"
Lily of Wakefield MA

"To the family of Ken Leisten you are in our prayers. We share your sadness as we lost our son in Kufa, Iraq on May 30, 2004. They are heros and will not be forgotten. May you find peace in the memories of his life."
Lisa and Gino Zimmer of Columbus, Ohio

"Thank you Ken Leisten, 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

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Ken Leisten:
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 Ken for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Ken Leisten:
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 Ken, 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