Screaming Eagles Through Time
Sgt. Warren S. Hansen


Clintonville, Wisconsin
Killed in action November 15, 2003

Sgt. Warren S. Hansen

Three Wisconsin soldiers die in helicopter crash in Iraq

By C. Antlfinger and M. McCord
Associated Press Writers
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Three Wisconsin soldiers were among 17 killed when two Black Hawk helicopters collided in Iraq in the U.S. military's worst single loss of life since the war began in March.

Saturday's crash in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul also marked the deadliest day for Wisconsin soldiers. The three killed Saturday are among eight Wisconsin soldiers who have died in the war.

The Department of Defense identified the three Sunday as Sgt. Warren S. Hansen, of Clintonville; Spc. Eugene A. Uhl III, of Amherst; and 2nd Lt. Jeremy L. Wolfe, of Menomonie.

The Rev. Vilas Mazemke, Hansen's pastor at St. Martin Lutheran Church in Clintonville, said the soldier's father died in the military, although he didn't know the specifics. Hansen, whose stepfather was a Marine, always wanted to join the military, Mazemke said.

"That's what he wanted to be ever since he was a little guy," Mazemke said.

The three Wisconsin soldiers were members of the 101st Airborne Division stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky.

Hansen, 36, was assigned to the 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment. Uhl, 21, was with the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery. Wolfe, 27, served with the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment.

Uhl would have celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thanksgiving, said his mother, Joan Uhl.

He followed his father and grandfather into the military, she said. His father fought in Vietnam, and his grandfather served in World War II and the Korean War.

"He was proud to be there (in Iraq), proud to be defending the country," Joan Uhl said.

He joined the Army in June 2002 and left for Iraq in February, his mother said. She last saw him in person over Christmas last year, but they saw each other through a camera hooked to the Internet a month ago.

Eugene Uhl was engaged to be married in June. He also is survived by three older sisters and his father. His sisters spoiled their younger brother, Joan Uhl said.

"They were all close with him," she said.

His mother said Uhl wrote a letter recently that only his father was allowed to read.

"It was just he had a bad feeling about what was going to happen," Uhl said.

The 2000 graduate of Amherst High School talked about having a career in the military, attending more school and living in Kentucky. He even asked his family to follow him there, his mother said.

"He was serious, but yet he was very outgoing," his mother said. "He was sometimes a prankster, very caring and full of life."

Mazemke, who has known Hansen for about 12 years, said the two never discussed the possibility that Hansen might die in the military like his father.

"We always talked about that there was a strong possibly no matter what you do or where you are at _ you just do the best you can where you are at," he said.

Hansen's stepfather, James Karlson, was too choked up to say much when contacted Sunday evening.

"We're just trying to get everything together," he said. "We're devastated right now."

Mazemke, who called Hansen a "fantastic guy," said the soldier would help stage patriotic services at the church when he was home.

Hansen sent his pastor an e-mail Wednesday that said he expected to return home in March, when he could help with a church service.

He said Hansen, who traveled with the military and left for Iraq last spring, repaired and inspected helicopters but also flew them from time to time.

"He was proud of being in the service, very proud to serve," he said.

He said Hansen wasn't married but had a brother who lives in California and younger stepbrother in Clintonville.

"He's very handsome and very decorated. He has numerous awards," he said. "He was a very good troop, one of high morale."

A Menomonie man who identified himself as Wolfe's father was too upset to talk about his son's death when reached Sunday night.

"It's been a long few hours and we haven't been to sleep since Saturday. It's terrible," the man said.

Mazemke, who graduated from Clintonville High School, had a strong relationship with the church.

"Every time he would come in ... he would also go with me up to the high school and talk to the young people when they would have classes in the history of war or something like that," he said.

Mazemke discussed Hansen's death during his church service Sunday morning, and parishioners prayed for the soldier's family.

"We went to church and the first thing our minister says I have some news that is very sad," said parishioner Darlene Hanson, who knew Hansen through church. "It was hard. We were supposed to have a happy church service today and there was a tear in everyone's eye."