Fallen Hero LT Nick A. Dewhirst, US Army” title=

LT Nick A. Dewhirst

August 25, 1982 - July 20, 2008
U.S. Army

The following biography was written by Nick’s father: >/p>

Nick was born and raised in Onalaska, Wisconsin, the middle son of Randy and Susan Dewhirst. He attended Irving Pertzsch Elementary, Onalaska Middle School and Onalaska High School. Nick was a Boy Scout in local Troop 48 and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and participated in many High Adventures. While in High School, Nick was selected to be in the National Honor Society and served on the Student Council. He graduated in the Class of 2001.

During his senior year in High School, Nick decided he wanted to attend a Service Academy. His first choice was the United States Naval Academy. Although he got a Congressional appointment and was accepted he failed the vision requirements due to a color deficiency. Nick then moved on to his second choice, The United States Military Academy at West Point. He got his application in and met all the physical requirements. About this same time he applied and was accepted to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in their Mechanical Engineering program. This was his backup plan. Nick received notification that he met all the criteria for acceptance to West Point but they did not have a slot for him at that time. He did make a list of 130 fully qualified Academy candidates that was sent to ROTC colleges around the US. Soon the phone began ringing. He had offers for full four year Army ROTC Scholarships at several colleges around the country. He accepted a scholarship at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Daytona Beach, FL. He liked their program and reputation and the location didn't hurt any. So in the fall of 2001 Nick loaded up his 1988 Pontiac Fiero and headed south to Florida.

While at Embry-Riddle Nick got a taste of the Army way and took to it. He joined the Honor Guard and was a member of the Sandhurst Competition Team. These ROTC and Academy teams are made up of 12 people and they participate in military events at a yearly competition at West Point. Although they did not win the competition the Embry-Riddle team won the marksmanship event. While there, Nick excelled academically in the Aerospace Engineering curriculum. Nick did not lose his desire to attend West Point. While in Florida he reapplied to West Point and got a nomination from US Representative Ron Kind. He received a phone call one evening from Representative Ron Kind informing him that he had been accepted to West Point in the Class of 2006. Nick said he walked around the campus most of the night in a very excited state.

In July of 2002 Nick headed off to R Day at West Point. He made it through the Beast Barracks and the 15 mile Marchback to West Point to join the ranks of "The Long Grey Line". Nick was joined on the marchback by a local 1964 grad, Bob Weathers. It had been several decades since Bob had been back to West Point and after attending the marchback with Nick he has participated in many marchbacks since.

Nick flourished and grew at West Point. At West Point, Nick grew into a confident, accomplished leader. Nick did well academically, physically and militarily. During his Plebe year he tried out and was selected to be on the Black Knight's West Point Parachute Team. This elite team selected only 10 members from each class and competed at the collegiate level. Their training included jumping with the Army Golden Knights. While a Cadet Nick did several demonstration jumps into a LPGA tournament, A Mets Game, Several Army games in Michie Stadium and numerous times onto the Plane at West Point. Nick won several medals at these competitions in both individual and team events completing over 800 jumps. Nick was chosen to be the Cadet in Charge of the team his Firstie year.

Nick chose the Infantry as his branch of the Army and selected the 101st Airborne as his unit. In May 2006 Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.

After graduation Nick attended several Leadership schools at Fort Sill and Fort Benning. Nick also participated in several of the Army's specialty schools prior to his assignment with the 101st Airborne. He was assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry, 4th BCT at Fort Campbell, KY.

When he arrived at the 101st in Fort Campbell he was a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned as a Platoon Leader. Nick relished this role and preferred to be in the field training with his troops rather than being in the office. Nick was selected to be the company executive officer in December 2007 and promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Nick would have preferred to be a platoon leader and be with his troops but realized this would be a very good career opportunity.

Nick was deployed in March of 2008, a couple of weeks ahead of his company for an 18 month duration. He had the responsibility to locate all the equipment that had been sent from Fort Campbell to Afghanistan and relocate it to their outpost on the eastern border of the Khost Province near the Pakistan border. Although Nick was busy with his responsibilities as Executive officer, he found time to get into the field on patrols. These patrols were to check with the locals and see if there were any security issues, if they needed any help or supplies, and promote good will.He would often volunteer to lead or accompany patrols when there was an open slot. It was during one of these times when the patrol he was with was ambushed while going up a mountain pass and he was killed during combat near Spinkyel in Khost Province, Afghanistan.

Nick’s family has a military history. His maternal Grandfather served as a B17 Pilot in the Army Air Corps during WWII and was killed in a mid-air F-80 jet plane crash while serving in the Air Force in February 1952. His paternal Grandfather was a Naval Officer serving in the Pacific during WWII.

Nick’s passions were scuba diving, skydiving and base jumping. Nick’s specialized training included Ranger, Airborne, Air Assault, and Combat Diver. Among the awards he received: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal.

Nick is buried in the West Point Cemetery. His class ring was donated to the Academy and is on display in the ring case in the West Point Library along with those of USMA greats Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, and Douglas MacArthur.

Portrait sponsored by:
CPL Curtis M. Swenson memorial Fund, Rochester, Minnesota