Return To Honor Roll Page
Click on any thumbnail photographs to enlarge for viewing.

If you have any questions, additional biographical information, personal remembrances, or photographs you would like to contribute, please contact the History Project Manager via this Email Link.


PFC Katie M. Soenksen
410th MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Brigade

Killed In Action ~ 2 May 2007 ~ Iraq


They Say,
our deaths are not ours,
they are yours,
they will mean what
you make of them.

They say,
we leave you our deaths,
give them some

Archibald MacLeish
poet and WWI


There is contact information on file for the next of kin.

PFC Katie M. Soenksen, age 19, of  Davenport, Iowa, a member of the 1st Platoon "Outlaws," 410th MP Company (BRAVO SPIRIT), was severely wounded when an improvised explosive devise (IED) exploded under her MP patrol vehicle in West Baghdad, Iraq at 1355 hours on Wednesday, 2 May 2007. PFC Soenksen was rushed to the 28th Combat Support Hospital where she died from her wounds at 1525 hours.

Posting from 

    Being deployed is one of the hardest things to do. But being here makes me realize how good we have it in America. Even though being over here is hard I’m glad I’m over here. Before I came over here I didn’t know what to expect. But now that I’m here just seeing how some of them are living just hurts me inside. I wish I could do more for them but there’s only so much you can do without their help.

     I want to take this time to say Thank You for the support. The support is what keeps us going. When times get rough and I don’t know what to do, I just look in my email and there’s an email from friends and family saying how much they are proud of me. Every day I go into the chow hall and on the wall is a big American flag that elementary students made with paint and their hand prints. Just the little things are what keep us going. So again THANK YOU for the support that we need!

PFC Katie Rowella (Soenksen)

U.S. Army Pfc. Katie Soenksen, a 2005 graduate of Davenport North High School, was conducting a security mission Wednesday in Baghdad when her convoy was attacked, said her father Ronald Soenksen.

Katie Soenksen's father said she arrived in Iraq last summer and was due back home in June. She was part of the 410 Military Police based in Fort Hood, Texas, he said.

"She was determined in everything she did in her life," Ronald Soenksen told The Associated Press. "She was determined to make a difference."

Ronald Soenksen said he last talked to her on Tuesday and that she told him she was preparing for a mission the next day. On Wednesday afternoon, the Army visited his home to tell him she was dead.

Despite his loss, the father said he supports the mission in Iraq and never tried to discourage his daughter from joining the Army.

"She was on a mission," he said. "She wanted to go over there and keep (the war) on foreign soil. That was her main goal."

In a letter posted on a Department of Defense Web site, Katie Soenksen thanked Americans for supporting the troops and acknowledged the difficulty of leaving home.

Her father said she was influenced by her godfather and niece, who both joined the military. She prepared herself for an Army career by joining the ROTC in high school, he said.

"She loved it," Ronald Soenksen said. "She knew what she was doing when she got into it."

Davenport North High School students line 53rd Street in front of the school as the funeral procession passes by. Kevin E. Schmidt/Associated Press

He said his daughter believed she was doing good in Iraq and that she was upset about how the media was portraying the situation.

He said it was natural to feel some fear for his daughter's safety, but she often "talked about how much fun she was having."

Edited from an article from Sioux City Journal -- DES MOINES (AP)

They sobbed at the mournful notes of Taps.

And with an Army officer bending on one knee to present flags to Pfc. Katie Soenksen’s mom, then to her husband, the services for the 19-year-old Davenport woman ended.

The family sat silently. Friends and military officials stood silently. The flags held by dozens of men and women who traveled miles to honor Soenksen with a motorcycle escort fluttered in the sunny breeze.

One by one, the mourners turned to walk away.

SPC Benjamin Rowella, left, Katie's husband, her brother, Matt Soenksen, and mother Mary Ann Soenksen follow the hearse after the funeral Mass. Photo By Dan Videtich, The Moline Dispatch Via Associated Press

The Soenksen family slowly formed a circle around the cremated remains of the beautiful young woman with a memorable smile who was killed May 2 in west Baghdad. They held hands. Her dad counted to three, so their final words to her would come in unison........

     The drone of bagpipes signaled the beginning of Soenksen’s funeral Mass, held at her childhood church, Our Lady of Victory in Davenport. It is the church where she was baptized, the church where she was confirmed. She attended the church’s school.

Former teachers at John F. Kennedy Catholic School read from the Bible.

"A time for war," one read from Ecclesiastes 3:8. She paused. "And a time for peace."

Msgr. James Parizek delivered the eulogy.

"Our mourning is all the more profound when a young person in the prime of life suddenly vanishes from the world scene," he told the packed church. "These awful days of grief have been punctuated, however, with the happier memories of Katie’s smiling face, which was constant, her zest for life, her courageous embrace … of serving a grateful nation in this war against terrorism."

"So let no one forget her heroism or her enthusiasm for the job she freely chose to do for her country, her dogged determination to succeed. She was, after all, strong-willed and stubborn, willing to buck heads with anyone who stood in her way of doing what she needed to do."

Her family nodded. Smiles appeared on their teary faces.

"As her mom said: 'She did exactly what she wanted to do," Parizek said. "Katie was convinced that her presence in Iraq was making a difference in the lives of Iraqi people."

He later quoted scripture: "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

The sound of the bagpipes filled the air again as two Army officials carried Soenksen’s remains from the church to the hearse.

A procession two miles long headed past the Soenksen home, her high school, across the Mississippi River.

Police officers shut down traffic to allow for smooth passage, a respectful passage.

Along the way, children waved flags and adults wiped tears, saluted and held their hands over their hearts. A grand American flag flew overhead on 53rd Street in Davenport, hung from a Davenport Fire Department ladder truck.

A second flew at the entrance of the National Cemetery.

The hearse carrying Soenksen’s remains weaved through the gravesites, coming to a stop near the pavilion set for her final farewell. After the hearse parked, the long line of cars in the procession continued to arrive for many, many minutes.

The cemetery was silent except for the low thunder of motorcycles, which carried dozens of Patriot Guard Riders.

Dave Cooper of Davenport was one of two riders to lead his fellow motorcyclists to the cemetery, with large American flags fanning from the backs of each bike.

"I feel honored to escort the Soenksen family," Cooper said.

Photo by Michael Millhollin

Once more, the bagpipes played.

The priest offered words of prayer.

And, after the friends, the members of the military and the strangers had gone, the circle of family formed around Soenksen’s remains......

Dad gave the count to three.

"We love you, Katie."

Many gently touched the box, some laid a flower at its side.

Her husband, Spec. Benjamin Rowella, then saluted his wife of less than a year one last time.

He was the last to walk away.

The Quad City Thursday, May 10, 2007 By Ann McGlynn |Barb Ickes and Kurt Allemeier contributing.

Use Your Browser Button To Return