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Spc. Brian H. Penisten View/Sign Guest Book
Spc. Brian H. Penisten

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Age:   28
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
Date of Death: 11/2/2003
Incident Location: Fallujah, Iraq
Branch of Military:   Army
Rank: Spc.
Unit: Air Defense Artillery Battery, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
Unit's Base: Fort Carson, Colo.

Spc. Brian Penisten was on his way home to marry his fiancee, Johnna Loia, in a ceremony planned for Nov. 7. He had talked with her just before he was set to leave Iraq. He died in the Nov. 2 downing of a helicopter carrying troops home on leave. "It''s horrible," said his fiancee''s father, John Loia. "It just ruined two people''s lives." Penisten, 28, was stationed at Fort Carson. A member of his Fort Wayne, Ind., high school wrestling team for four years, Penisten advanced to the state tournament his senior year and compiled a 35-2 record. "He was one of the hardest workers on the mat we had," high school athletic director Andy Johns said. "He was a small guy, and he wrestled at 135 pounds his senior year. He was really a good student and a unique individual. He was fun to be around." He occasionally returned to the school after graduation, and kept in touch with the school''s principal, Fred Tone, who had coached Penisten''s wrestling team. "He was one tough cookie," Tone said. "He had an inner drive and desire to challenge himself to be the very best."
Source: Associated Press
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