- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Spc. Brian K. Derks
Died August 13, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
21, of White Cloud, Mich.; assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, Fort Irwin, Calif.; killed Aug. 13 when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on mounted patrol in Baghdad.
Marine killed by explosion in Iraq
Once after he had gotten into an argument with his wife over a historical event, Evan Allen West decided to consult his roommate.
He got more than he bargained for from Brian K. Derks. “He wound up writing an entire essay,” West said. “I will always miss his insight and wisdom he gave me daily.”
Derks, 21, of White Cloud, Mich., died Aug. 13 in a bomb blast in Baghdad. He was assigned to Fort Irwin.
He graduated from high school in 2003, where he served as the captain of the Quiz Bowl team and brought it to nationals. “Consistently Brian would buzz in before a question was even half done,” said retired teacher Tony McHattie. “He just had vast knowledge in all sorts of areas. He had an astute mind.”
Capt. Jarrod P. Wickline said Derks was originally turned down by an Army recruiter because Derks was 100 pounds overweight. “He took that as a personal challenge,” said Wickline. Derks then lost the weight — in three months. “There is no doubt to me that by sheer willpower alone he could be anything he wanted to be,” he said.
He is survived by his parents, Peggy and Keith, and his fiancee, Nikki Crans.