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Army Cpl. Kory D. Wiens

Died July 6, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Independence, Ore.; assigned to the 94th Mine Dog Detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; died July 6 in Muhammad Sath, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Pfc. Bruce C. Salazar Jr.

Oregon soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

INDEPENDENCE, Ore. — An explosive killed a soldier from Independence, the Department of Department announced July 10.

Army Cpl. Kory D. Wiens, 20, died July 6 in the town of Muhammad Sath in Iraq, according to the announcement. At the time, he was on patrol with his dog, Cooper, who also died.

Wiens graduated from West Albany High School in 2005.

“He really cared for his family and his friends, and he was willing to do anything he could to help them in any way,” Ashley Soto, a fellow 2005 graduate, told The Oregonian.

Wiens was assigned to the 94th Mine Dog Detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Kevin Wiens, also serving in Iraq, is escorting his brother’s body to Oregon along with Cooper’s, West Albany Principal Susie Orsborn told the Albany Democrat-Herald. Orsborn said she has talked to the soldier’s father, Kevin, who lives in Polk County. She said the father has declined to speak with reporters.

“This is the fourth member of our school family to die in Iraq,” Orsborn said. “It’s just so sad. I want to make sure the family knows that the school’s thoughts are with Kory.”

Wiens and his dog were trained to find materials such as TNT, detonation cords, smokeless powder, mortars, weapons and explosive residue used to make explosives, according to article written by an Army public affairs writer and posted on the Internet on March 16.

In the article, Wiens said Cooper, a yellow lab, didn’t know simple obedience commands when they first met last year.

“I got to teach him all the things he knows today,” Wiens said. “Seeing him out there working is very rewarding. It’s amazing to see how far he’s come.”

Oregon soldier and dog honored at service

The Associated Press

DALLAS, Ore. — Police and military dogs joined the family and friends of Army Cpl. Kory Wiens for a memorial service to honor the soldier and his Army service dog, who died together in a bomb blast in Iraq.

Twenty-nine dog handlers from police agencies across Oregon lined the walls of the church to honor Wiens, 20, who was assigned to the 94th Mine Dog Detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Their dogs waited outside during the 90-minute service at the Faith Evangelical Free Church in Dallas, but sporadic barking could be heard. Wiens had been training Cooper — a service dog with the ability to sniff out TNT, detonation cords, smokeless powder, mortars and other weapons — for nearly a year before they were killed July 6.

More than 300 friends, family members and others remembered Wiens, including his commanding officer, Capt. Danielle Roche, who called Wiens one of the best soldiers she has worked with.

“He was the kind of soldier every leader dreamed of having,” Roche said. “He had a strong work ethic, he was hard-working and he took the initiative. And he always had a smile on his face.”

Roche said Wiens was a personable young man who was always eating. She said she remembers Wiens starting off with Cinnabons, followed by candy and other snacks. Then he’d have a few energy drinks.

But that diet didn’t cause a big weight gain.

“Corporal Wiens was scrawny, whether he wanted to admit it or not,” said Roche, drawing laughter from the audience. “He was always in the gym working out or doing whatever he could to add some muscle to his frame.”

Gov. Ted Kulongoski spoke at the service, as he has for most of Oregon’s military members who have died in the wars of the Middle East.

“Sometimes, a man and his dog truly do become one being,” Kulongoski said. “Kory and Cooper served together. They risked life and limb together. And because they did this, they saved many lives together. Many other soldiers have made it home because of them.”

In a tearful ending to the service, Wiens’ father, Kevin Sr., stood up to address the crowd. He tried to speak but was overcome with grief.

Wiens’ brother, Kevin Jr. — who is also serving in Iraq with the Army — took the microphone and thanked everyone for coming.

Fort Carson honors soldier, dog killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

DENVER — A dog park at a Colorado Army post is being named in honor of an Oregon soldier and his military working dog who were killed together in Iraq.

Cpl. Kory Wiens and the Labrador retriever named Cooper will be remembered at a ceremony Friday at Fort Carson just outside Colorado Springs.

Wiens and Cooper were killed by an improvised bomb while on patrol in 2007. Their ashes are buried together in Dallas, Ore., Wiens' hometown.

Wiens was 20. He and Cooper, who was trained to sniff out explosives, were assigned to a mine dog detachment based at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Wiens had no formal tie to Fort Carson but officials there wanted to honor his memory, a spokesman said.

The park will be called the Cpl. Wiens and Cooper Dog Park. It opened last year.

Pat McAlister, Wiens' grandmother, said Thursday the family was moved by the gesture.

"We're overwhelmed," she said in a telephone interview. "We're touched, we really are."

Her late husband, Duane, was a military dog handler in Korea in the 1950s, she said. The family now displays side-by-side photos of grandfather and grandson with their dogs.

McAlister said she didn't know what drew her grandson to become a dog handler but he grew close to Cooper.

"When he would come home on leave he actually was more concerned (about Cooper) — he couldn't bring Cooper home and he would always say, 'He's like my kid.'"

They shared a room in Iraq, and each got a cot. "And when the Army sent back his things, there were so many dog toys," she said.

Weins planned to stay in the Army until Cooper was retired and then adopt him, McAlister said.

A kennel and veterinary facility at Fort Leonard Wood were named in Weins' honor in 2007.

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