SFC Richard Joseph Henkes II
  • 32 years old
  • Date of birth: Dec 19, 1973
  • Date of passing: Sep 3, 2006
Let the memory of SFC Richard be with us forever

An Army sergeant from the Portland area was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, his family said Tuesday. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Henkes, 33, died Sunday in Mosul, where he had been serving the past two months, his sister told The Oregonian newspaper. Henkes, a graduate of Clackamas High School, was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. He joined the Army in 1992, training for the infantry, according to his sister, Army Capt. Linda Bass of Birmingham, Ala. "When Rich enlisted, he was in for a couple of years, and then he got out and was in the National Guard for a while," Bass said. Her brother eventually re-enlisted, in part because he wanted to provide steady support for his family. "He loved what he was doing, and he was very, very good at what he did," Bass said. "It''s what he knew and believed in." Henkes was the 71st member of the military with ties to Oregon or southwest Washington to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. Leading his first platoon, Henkes knew the dangers facing him and his soldiers, his sister said. Bass had been stationed in Iraq in 2003, and they talked many times about what could happen over there. She said her younger brother tried to reassure her. But in e-mails home, he indicated he sometimes worried about his platoon members. Still, he believed in the mission in Iraq, Bass said. "He believed in serving his country and doing something that would have a positive effect," she said. "He believed he was doing something for the greater good." Henkes was following a family tradition. His father served in the Air Force, and both his grandfathers were in the Army and fought in World War II. A great-grandfather fought in World War I, Bass said. Henkes grew up in Boring. In high school he wrestled and ran track, but his passion was snowboarding. Last December, he taught his 17-year-old niece, Cassidy Richard, how to ride a snowboard on Mount Hood during a family vacation to celebrate Bass'' wedding. Henkes was "always the jokester" at family gatherings, his sister said. "But he could also be very quiet," she said. "He was very serious about what he was doing for a living. He was a very caring and compassionate person." Henkes is survived by his daughter, Isabel, 5, of Vancouver, Wash.; parents, Chris and Jim Stanton of Ashdown, Ark., and Richard and Karen Henkes of Woodburn; sisters, Bass, Tamara Henkes of Portland, Dana Harmel of Woodburn and Cindy Stanton of Hot Springs, Ark.; and brothers, Mark Holmgren of Woodburn and Paul Stanton of Arkadelphia, Ark. Bass said she will fly to Dover Air Force Base, Del., to accompany her brother''s body home as his official military escort. -- At Richard J. Henkes II''s funeral, pastor Dave Albanese joked that Henkes had to join the military after growing up with two older sisters. "He was used as their personal dress-up doll when he was young," Albanese said. "Some say he joined to preserve his masculinity." Henkes, 32, of Portland, Ore., died Sept. 3 of injuries when a bomb detonated near his vehicle in Mosul.His niece stated, "I fell a lot," she said. "He was my best friend, and I knew if I ever needed to talk to somebody, he was there. I want to remember him from those memories. I''m proud of him for doing what he did." Henkes'' sister, Army Capt. Linda Bass, read from the soldier''s creed to show how much the service meant to her brother. "I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade," she read. "That was my brother. That''s what he was doing over there." He also is survived by his daughter, Isabel, 5.

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