It was September 22 when Lance Koenig was driving near Tikrit, an Iraqi city about 100 miles north of Baghdad. He pulled over to inspect a suspicious roadside object, only to discover too late that it was a roadside bomb. It exploded, making him the third member of the 141st Combat Engineer Battalion to be killed in Iraq. He was only 33 years old.
A North Dakotan through and through, Lance was born December 31, 1970 in Garrison. His parents were Robert and Lynette Lord Koenig. When he was still a baby they moved to Carrington where he grew up. His work ethic showed through with his passion for wrestling. He became a three-time state champion and won every match his senior year. He graduated high school in 1989 and began attending NDSU, where he was the number-one wrestling recruit for that year.
On Dec. 26, 1992, Lance married Angela Ziemkowski in Carrington and settled in Fargo where they raised two daughters, Alexandra and Brooklyn. His friends described him as easy going and devoted to his family. He coached Alexandra’s soccer team up until his deployment. His close friend Michael Page said Lance was humble and never sought recognition, but would want to be remembered most of all as a man who fiercely loved his wife and children. On this date in 2004, many gathered to honor Lance’s modest but impactful life. His influence can be seen by the many kind comments shared on his obituary page, a collection of drawings, poems, or simple words of recognition that honor his memory. They are posted as late as ten years after his death. Clearly, Lance was a guy to remember.
16 North Dakotan servicemen have been lost to the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict. Koenig’s story shows how each one of these deaths affects the lives of so many.
Dakota Datebook by Lucid Thomas