Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Brian H. Penisten

28, of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Penisten was on board a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter when it went down in Al Fallujah, Iraq. The cause of the incident is unknown and an investigation is underway. Penisten was assigned to Air Defense Artillery Battery, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado. Died on November 2, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Spc. Brian H. Penisten.


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

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"Still thinking of you bud. So many years have passed. I can still see that canted smile and swagger you had. 'Til Fiddlers Green"
Mr. Hubert Perry, (SSG) of Wetumpka, AL

"Brian, I remembered our last chess game the night before you and fellow comrades we're shot down. It seems like yesterday and it deeply saddens me everyday. I still have that chess board you made for me when you were R&R for the unit; I'm sitting at it now as I write these words. You will be missed. AI-EE-YAH my brother."
Tikila l Nichols of New Orleans, La USA

"Brian - hard to believe its been 18 years. I wear your bracelet and I carry your memory daily. Rest easy brother, Until Valhalla. BSA and BDHS"
Tim Weaver of Chicago / Ft. Wayne BDHS

"been far too long brother, and still feels like yesterday...not a day goes by"
SGT Chapell. 2021

"13 years brother, and it still replays like it is happening right now. Until we meet again on the Green......BRAVE RIFLES"
SGT Jason Chapell

"Brian was one of the best people I ever met, he would truly do anything for anyone! He was a very rare human being. We used to run around Fort Wayne together-and had a lot of fun- when we were very young, and I think of him and his family often."
Melissa Christy Opsahl of Denver, CO/U.S.

"I wear Brian's Bracelet as well. I went to BD with Brian and he worked for my dad and I over the summer at our landscape company. We are going to be building a Garden in fort wayne as a memorial for him. 912-332-0172. I am leaving my number Brian's mom and dad. I will be in fort wayne next month for the debut of the garden."
Ralph Malachias Gaskin of Columbia, TN

"We will never forget. God bless you and keep you, Brian. BDHS!"
Dan B. of Ft Wayne/ New Jersey

"Thinking again about you. You are not forgotten!"
Sgt Adam Heckmann ADA 1/3 ACR of Williston, Fl

"My email is tamarafogle12@gmail.com if any of his family would like to email me. Thank you"

"I've had Brians bracelet 4 almost 10 yrs now. I also live in ft wayne. I'm thankful for what he did 4 me and my children and I think of him daily."
Tamara Fogle of Fort Wayne Indiana

"Its been along time brother.I realy miss our chess games and all the good times we had. You were my bestfriend and everyone in the unit knew it. I always thought it was funny that they would tell me where you were when I came back from mission without me haveing to ask. You were family to me and the only reason I made it over there. Its taken me along time to let go and I don't realy think I ever fully will. I miss you so much and I never got a chance to tell you that you taught me alot about myself and I still remeber everything. You were a humble person, with a big heart. I could go on and on but I want to say one more thing, if anyone in your family or any of our brothers would like to contact me please do."
SPC. Nathaniel C. Johnson of 518 Saturn Ave. Salina Ks. 67401

"You are always missed, not just on Memorial Day. I will always remember our fishing and camping trips. I miss you buddy and wish I was there for you."
Justin Stubler of Gambrills, MD

"To the Penisten family, I am SFC Mace and Brian was my Soldier. I am very sorry for your loss and I am sorry I have not posted anything or wrote sooner. This is very hard for me, Brian was a really great friend and a great Soldier. See I promised Johnna on the morning of 9 Apr 2003 the day we left for Iraq that I would bring Brian back home safe to her, I failed and I am truly sorry for that. There is something I think you need to know. Because the unit could only give out so many leaves in OIF 1, and not everyone could go home on leave Brian was given R&R. When I found out he was not getting leave I went to SSG Flower and told him I would give up my leave so Brian could go home. I knew how much he loved Johnna and how much he wanted to go home and get married to her. I knew it would make them both happy and it was the best gift I could give them at that time. When I told Brian I gave up my leave and took his R&R so he could go home, he was so happy, and said he could not thank me enoff. I was at BIAP on Nov 2nd waiting for the Shnook to arive to take me back to Alasad after the R&R, it never showed up. I knew it had been shot down but it was not until I got back to Alasad 2 days later that I found out that Brian was on that Shnook. I know if I would not have gone to SSG Flower and asked him to let Brian take my leave and just let Brian take his R&R he would still be here with you today. I do not ask for forgivness, I know there is nothing I can say that will make losing him any easyer. I justed wanted you know why he was on that Shnook on Nov 2nd. I am truly sorry, I just hope this anwser some of your question of why and when he was at that place at that time. P-Ten I love you and miss you man."
SFC Thomas E Mace II (E-Mail: thomas.e.mace.mil@mail.mil) of Ft. Campbell, Ky.

"I miss you brother! Thanks for helping me in Wrestling in HS. Lead the Way! Scouts Out!"
Ralph (Malachias) Gaskin of Fort Stewart, Ga/ United States

"it truly warms my heart to read all the amazing words and stories abiut my brian... its been almost 8 years now & it still feels like only a few seconds... i love u so much my brian and i miss u so much you will NEVER b forgotten & i am & will 4ever b ur wife Johnna Penisten & i will 4ever keep my promise of forever to you.... you are my jack and i am your rose!!!!!"
Johnna Loia-Penisten of Pueblo Colo

"Brian, I miss you a lot. Thanks for always being their for me when I needed it. I sure hope that when we meet up again in Heaven you and I will go fishing. You will not be forgotten."
PFC Justin Stubler/ Former ADA 1/3 ACR of Odenton, MD n

"I did not know SPC Penisten, but had the honor of participating in the "Run for the Fallen" today (AUG 21, 2010) with Brian's name. The articles and posts that I have read indicate Brian is a special person who touched a lot of lives and I would have been proud to serve along side him. My prayers go out to Brian's son, fiance, and family."
Keith Anderson, SMSgt (ret) of Colorado Springs, CO

"Brian, we miss the hell of you buddy. I thought about you today and wish I could go back and smoke a butt next to the fence with you just one more time."

"I was thinking of you today. You cross my mind every once in a while. I remember the talks that we had while smoking a cigarette by the fence to the motorpool. Rest in peace brother."
Sgt Adam Heckmann ADA 1/3 ACR of Gainesville Fl.

"Hello my friend."
Schank, Johnathon of Hendersonville, TN

"Brain was always a hero in my eyes, tuff to the core. He broke a humvee with his own hands lol." I cant beleave this little screw I broke with my fingers deadlined the humvee"Brain said. I will never forget him. His son should be so proud to have a father of that class. When i knew him alls he talked about was his son. How much he loved him and the time they spent together and mojojojo lol. It's hard not to think of Brain he introduced me to my wife. So I'm always grateful for him."
Sgt DeAgo of Lebanon,TN,Wilson

"November 2, 2008
To the family of Spc. Brian H. Penisten:
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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"You will never be forgotten friend...brother...comrade.

Memorial Day 2008"
SFC Scott D. Askew of Fort Shafter, HI

"Brian's Parents,
I had the great pleasure of working with your son in Colorado. In fact, I was his section SGT for a while in ADA Battery, 1/3 ACR. He was a spectacular person to know and it pains me to learn of his passing. He had a style of his own and was a genuine person that brought a smile to my face on too many occasions to list.

My prayers go with you Brian. You are truly missed by all that were touched by your character. I'll see you at Fiddler's Green brother..."
SSG Perry of Fort Knox, KY

"Patrick,I was with the group at Philmont. Trevor was a leader.Thanks.Matt,thanks for your words.Get those take downs.Mona&John"
Penisten's of fort wayne,IN

"To the Family of SPC Penisten: I was a freshman on the Bishop Dwenger Saints Wrestling team when Brian was a senior. Among the things he taught me about a new agressive style of wrestling and music, the thing that sticks now while I gear up for another wrestling season with the US Navy was sportsmanship and being part of a team. Brian will always be a teammate."
MM1 Matt Hardman of Naval Station San Diego, CA

"SPC Penisten,

You will never be forgotten.

Nov. 2, 2007"
SFC Scott D. Askew of Honolulu, HI

"I met Brian when I was in Boy Scouts. I went to Philmont with him and our whole troop in 1991. He was a leader and we all looked up to him. I remember him being the DJ during our cross-country trip.Playing everything from The Doors through Kansas and Metallica through New Mexico.Us younger guys all looked up to him and he made the ultimate sacrifice to our country so once again I look up to him...God Bless Brian, His Family and all those who looked up to him.."
Patrick J. Morrow of Spring Hill, FL

SPC SERGIO DE LA GARZA of FT BLISS TX.. or 1116 e 11th st pueblo co 81001 or sergio_luis1980@yahoo.com

"To the family of:Brian H. Penisten 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 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"Hi!! I am the fiance/wife of Brian and I would like to thank all of the people who have left messages it means a great deal to me. Brian is and will always be my hero and my husband and I will eternally love him. I'll see you when I get there my Brian!! 'I Miss My Friend""
Johnna Penisten of Cripple Creek Colo

"Penisten, I can still hear you turning wrenches in that wretched 577. Man, the nights in the motorpool or out in the field, bring back a lot of good memories. I still remember how EVERYONE, not just your peers, looked to you for the right answers on something mechanical. You were the best. You are the Army. I miss ya bud, and prayers go out to your family you left behind."
SSG Scott D. Askew of Colorado Springs, CO

"today, in barrington, illinois, a thousand people took part in a peace march. i carried your son's name printed on a large card and remembered him, with the other casualties, during the march. i am a mother of sons and i am so sorry for your loss. i will always remember your son and his noble life. in peace, judith stone."
judith stone of barrington, il.

"I knew Brian for about 2 years and he was a great guy and one of my best friends. I love and miss him very much, he was always there when you needed him. He will never be forgotton in my eyes he was such a great friend I named my son after him. I think about him every day. My condolenses go out to the family and he was truly loved by a lot of people in this world."
Suzanna of Colorado Springs, Colorado

"I knew Brian very well growing up in early high school years. He was a great friend and will never be forgotten! He truly is a hero, and will be greatly missed."
Chet Kittle, racinmx997@aol.com of Reno, Nv

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

"I met brian when johnna loia introduced us her apartment one day when he came down from fort carson. I knew right off hand how much he liked her. I knew how great he was. I miss him so much there is not a day i dont think about him and johnna.They are both in my heart and always in my head. I loved spending time with the both of them. Brian you are a true hero who deserves to be remembered always. To johnna and to his family and his son " god bless you all""
Jessica Jones of Pueblo,Colo USA

"I love you Brian and may you rest in peace. You are a true hero, a great inspiration, a friend to many, and an all together great person. I am proud to be your cousin and look forward to seeing you again in heaven. And to Aunt Mona and Uncle John may all of God's comfort and peace be with you. I love you both very much. And Brian will never be forgotten and always remembered and very much loved by all the family and friends and those grateful for what he did. I love you guys very much."
Beth Shull of Churubusco, Indiana

"Brian Peniston was my friend and I just want to say I am extremely sorry for everyone's great loss. He was a great guy and helped to serve this country the best that he could. You will not be forgotten and you are deeply missed."
Pamela Garcia of Colorado Springs, CO


"To Sgt Penisten's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Brian was taken from you. You are in our hearts. We will never forget."
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida (2/24/04)

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 "

"My husband served with your son in Colorado until July of 2002. We both want to express our heartfelt condolences for the loss of Brian. He was a wonderful man and a good friend to my husband. Currently my husband is also in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division, 1/4 ADA and has asked me to leave this for you.

Sgt Patrick & Shelly Kidder
Shelly Kidder of Weisbaden German

"We want to thank everyone for their prayers and words of kindness. It is because all of you and God we are geting through this. Please continue to pray for our troops. God Bless, John and Mona Penisten"
Mona Penisten of Fort Wayne,In

"Rest in peace brave soldier!"
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"Light a candle for your soldier.


"To the family of Brian Penisten:

I am sorry for you loss. I lost my older brother, Steven Conover, in that same attack. Brian is a hero in my book and he will not be forgotten. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Corrie Simpson of Wilmington, Ohio USA

"Thank you Brian Penisten, 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 heart goes out to the family and the fiancee of this brave soldier. I could just cry for her and his son. Know that you are all in my prayers."
Beverly Arnold of Cynthiana,KY

"To the family and friends of Spc. Brian Penisten:
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

"To the family and friends of Spc. Brian Penisten:
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