Army Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40, of Mason City, Iowa; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Nov. 2 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad. Also killed were: Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger and Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage. Paul graduated from Harlan High School, attended Iowa State University for one year before transferring to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he graduated in 1989. He had been a career Army officer. Paul was a warm, bright person who often smiled and was dedicated to his country. His awards and decorations include Weapons Qualification, M9, expert; Bronze Star medal (2); Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (3); Army Achievement Medal (2); Iraqi Campaign Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; Army Superior Unit Award; National Defense Service Medal (2); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; NATO Service Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Air Assault Badge; Combat Infantry Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; Parachutists Badge; Pathfinder Badge; and the Ranger Tab. He leaves behind a wife, Jackie, and three daughters, Emilie, Caroline, and Julia. Also six brothers, Steve, Alan, Richard, Dave, Mark and Peter. Two sisters, Jean Pruitt, and Joan Henscheid. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Edna Finken, and by his brother, John. He was 40.
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