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Army Spc. Dennis G. Jensen

Died August 16, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Vermillion, S.D.; assigned to 153rd Engineer Battalion, 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Sioux Falls, S.D.; died Aug. 16 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat incident.

SD soldier dies in bridge materials accident

The Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. — A South Dakota National Guard soldier serving in Afghanistan has died in a non-combat related accident, the South Dakota governor's office said Wednesday.

Spc. Dennis G. Jensen, 21, of Sioux Falls, died Tuesday from injuries suffered while working with bridge materials near Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to a statement from the governor's office.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends for their loss, and we offer our gratitude for Specialist Jensen's service to our state and nation," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in the statement.

Jensen, formerly of Vermillion, was struck by two steel bridge decking panels that fell from a forklift when a securing strap broke. He was rushed to Bastion Airfield Hospital but didn't survive, Daugaard's office said. Officials said Jensen was wearing all appropriate safety gear at the time. The accident remains under investigation.

The 200th Engineer Company is a multi-role bridging unit headquartered at Pierre, with detachments in Mobridge and Chamberlain. The unit deployed in May for a year-long mission to maintain, repair and replace military bridges throughout Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota Army National Guard, offered condolences to Jensen's family and friends.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Spc. Jensen's family, as well as all members of the 200th," Reisch said in a statement.

Jensen enlisted as a member of the 211th Engineer Company of Madison and De Smet, in which he served as a combat engineer. Jensen volunteered to deploy with the 200th as a bridge crew member in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This was his first deployment.

Jensen is survived by his mother, Christine Bestgen of Lead, father Glenn Jensen of Yankton and sister Melissa Jensen of Minneapolis, Minn.

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