Gov. Dennis Daugaard said today (Wednesday, Aug. 17) that a National Guard soldier serving in Afghanistan with the 200th Engineer Company died in a non-combat related accident Tuesday, Aug. 16.
Specialist Dennis G. Jensen, 21, of Sioux Falls died from injuries suffered while working with bridge materials near Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.
Jensen, formerly of Vermillion, was struck by two steel bridge decking panels that fell from a forklift when a securing strap broke. He was immediately transported to Bastion Airfield Hospital and pronounced dead about 9:30 a.m. Afghanistan time. Jensen was wearing all appropriate safety gear at the time.
The accident is currently being investigated.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of Specialist Dennis Jensen, Gov. Daugaard said. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends for their loss, and we offer our gratitude for Specialist Jensens service to our state and nation.
The 200th Engineer Company is a multi-role bridging unit headquartered at Pierre, with detachments in Mobridge and Chamberlain. The unit deployed in May for a one-year mission to maintain, repair and replace military bridges throughout Afghanistan.
Our most sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Spc. Jensen, said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota Army National Guard. Our thoughts and prayers are with Spc. Jensens family, as well as all members of the 200th. The entire South Dakota National Guard family is deeply saddened by this loss.
Jensen enlisted as a member of the 211th Engineer Company of Madison and De Smet, in which he served as a combat engineer. Jensen volunteered to deploy with the 200th as a bridge crew member in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This was his first deployment.
He is survived by his mother, Christine Bestgen of Lead, father Glenn Jensen of Yankton, and sister Melissa Jensen of Minneapolis, MN. Funeral arrangements are pending.