Dennis Lynn Ahrendsen, 2nd Bde LRRP – K/75 Ranger, KIA Sep 6, 1968

Dennis Lynn Ahrendsen

Ahrendsen picAhrendsen pic 2

Ahrendsen graveAhrendsen grave marker

Nov. 23, 1946
Sep. 6, 1968
College: 1965-1967, Iowa State University
Dennis is honored on Panel 45W, Row 47 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Vietnam Service Medal
National Defense Medal
Gallantry Cross w/cluster
Good Conduct Medal.
Service: Army
Last Rank: Specialist 4
Last Service Branch: Infantry
Last Primary MOS: 11B-Infantryman
Last MOS Group: Infantry (Enlisted)
Last Unit: 1968-1968, Infantry Divisions/4th Infantry Division:
Unit Level: Hhc 2nd Bde
Service Years: 1967 – 1968
Unit Assignments:
1967-1968, Other Commands
1968-1968, Formal Schools/Recondo School 4th Infantry Division
1968-1968, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division/HHC
1968-1968, Army Ranger units/K Company Rangers, 4th Infantry Division
1968-1968, Infantry Divisions/4th Infantry Division
Casualty Type: Hostile Died
Casualty Category: Killed In Action
Reason: Gun Small Arms Fire
Air or Ground: Ground Casualty
Country: South Vietnam
Province: Darlac
LRRP Status 2 May 68
PFC Ahrendsen was accepted into the 2nd Bde LRRP at LZ Oasis by CO Cpt. Garnett and Platoon Sergeant Armin Blake in mid-April 1968, shortly after he had arrived in-country.
Throughout the month of May he was trained by a number of experienced team leaders, and spent June and July on missions in the Oasis AO. He then went to the 4th Division’s RECONDO School at Camp Enari, returned to the Oasis, and was promoted to SP/4.
In August 1968, the 2nd Bde LRRPs moved to Ban Me Thuot, a new AO close to the Cambodian border and enemy infiltration routes. After a few missions, in September, SP/4 Ahrendsen was promoted to Team Leader of “Hotel-2-Charlie” and sent out on a mission operating in Buon Trap map sheet 6634-IV, Grid Square AQ8931. On the team, were his ATL Joe Kull, who had joined the LRRPs at the same time as Ahrendsen, and three new LRRPs.
Ahrendsen contact map
On 06 September 1968, at 1800 hours, Team “Hotel-2-Charlie,” while looking to set up for a night location, was ambushed by an unknown sized force of VC. Ahrendsen and Kull were killed instantly by AK-47 fire from about five meters away. Another LRRP was wounded in the attack.
The remainder of the team managed to escape with the two bodies, and was extracted shortly thereafter.
4th Division Operational Report, Camp Enari, September 1968, after death of Kull and Ahrendsen
Ahrendsen Ops Report

2nd Brigade Ceremony in Ban Me Thuot for Ahrendsen and Kull, September 1968

2nd Bde LRRP Ceremony pic

Tribute located online at Iowa State University Stories in Agriculture and Life Sciences (Archives / 2009Spring / Veterans)
We would like to thank Denny’s sister Sheryl for his story:
“Sp/4th Class Dennis Lynn Ahrendsen exemplified the “All-American” young man. He was honest, loyal and true to his convictions. His passions were the farm where he was born and grew up, and raising Black Angus cattle.
Dennis was born November 23, 1946, the second child of Norman and Marge Schellin Ahrendsen. He attended Olin Consolidated School, graduating with the Class of 1965.
His favorite activity outside of school was the Olin Hawkeye 4-H Club. In school he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. He was on student council and in his senior year he was class president and Homecoming King. He attended Iowa State from September 1965 to February 1967 and majored in Animal Science.
On Aug 9, 1967 he married his high school sweetheart, Sally Cruise.
In October 1967, he was drafted and sent to Fort Bliss, TX for basic training. His supervisors pushed his company’s training so they could be home for Christmas. After the holidays, he was sent to Louisiana for further training. At some point, Dennis signed up to become a Ranger.
In March 1968 he had two weeks leave before being sent to Fort Lewis, WA and on March 28, 1968 he departed for Vietnam.
In June of 1968 he sent his older sister a package and letter for her soon-to ¬ be born baby. Since there were two nephews in the household already, a niece was hoped for by the entire family. The package contained a beautiful pink silk pajama outfit, size 2 for his new “niece.” The letter said he’d purchased it in a village shop, the smallest size he could get. On July 8, 1968 a third nephew was born. Sister Sheryl had promised Dennis that she would wait till he returned for the baby’s baptism. Nephew #3 was baptized a year after his birth and he wore the pink outfit Dennis had sent.
On September 6, 1968 Dennis was killed in action at Ban-Me-Thuot, Vietnam. It was his grandmother’s birthday. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Gallantry Cross w/cluster, and Good Conduct Medal.
The minister who baptized him, confirmed him, and married him, presided at his funeral service that was held in the Olin School Gym. It was filled to capacity with family, friends, neighbors … practically everyone in Olin, a small eastern Iowa town, population 600.
Mel McMorris was a grade behind Denny in high school and remembered this about him, “Dennis and I played on the same high school baseball team. He was the catcher. He was an excellent player and a good hitter. We attended the same church and sang in the church choir. Our pastor also sang in the church choir, had an awful voice and Dennis and I used to see how far we could sit away from him and still be in the choir! When our church participated in a youth event such as basketball, Dennis and I would play on the same team. It was a lot of fun. He was always a team player.
“Dennis also played on the Olin football and basketball teams. He was not the “big man on campus” in Olin, but he was highly thought of for his decency to others. He could cross age and social groups to be friendly towards a lot of different people. Growing up on a farm gave him a value for animals that resulted in his attending ISU. He wanted to become a veterinarian.”
Dennis is survived by his parents, sister, brother, and three nephews. We are pleased today to have [?? Dennis’s parents, Norman and Marjorie with us as well as his sister Sheryl [and brother?]
With memorial money, his parents planted 32 arborvitae evergreens at the Olin cemetery as a living gift in his memory. Several years ago, the Legion Hall in Olin was renamed in honor of Dennis. Many members of that Legion are here with us today.
We would like to thank Denny’s sister Sheryl for his story.”
Family links:
Norman Ahrendsen (1926 – 2015)
Marjorie Schellin Ahrendsen (1926 – 2013)
Gave his life in Vietnam
Olin Cemetery
Jones County
Iowa, USA
Plot: Sect. 4 – Row 17
Created by: R & R
Record added: Jul 24, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 94121105
From Never Forgotten by Mike Lapolla, (
Dennis Ahrendsen Dennis ran a number of missions as a follow team member and was a close friend. Sorry I cannot locate any pictures of Joe Kull as he too was a friend and killed on the same mission. these brave men were as fine as any serving in the 2nd BDE LRRPs during the war.
KIA 6th September 1968. Thanks, Barry Hoehn
Anamosa Eureka, 19 September 1968
OLIN — Specialist 4, Dennis Lynn Ahrendsen, lost his life while on a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam on Friday, Sept. 6, 1968.
Family prayer service was held at St. Paul’s United Methodist church, Olin, on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. Memorial services were held in the high school auditorium, Olin, at 1:30 p.m. Rev. Lloyd Dutro conducted the services. Military rites were in charge of Blayney, Mirier post. Interment was in the Olin cemetery.
Pallbearers included Merlin Fredrichsen, Robert (Tim) Timmons, Gene Pauli, Kevin Clark, Robert (Butch) Graf and James Abbott.
Mrs. Leon Stivers was organist. Mrs. Hans Ahrendsen, Oxford Junction, was soloist.
Life Outlined:
He was born Nov. 23, 1946, son of Norman and Marjorie Schellin Ahrendsen, at Anamosa.
Dennis grew to manhood on his parents farm northeast of Olin where he shared in the farming operation and was active in 4-H work and activities. He attended the Olin school where he graduated from high school in 1965. Following graduation from high school, he attended Iowa State University, Ames, for one and one-half years.
On Aug. 9. 1967, he was married to Sally Cruise in St. Paul’s church, Olin. He entered service in the United States army on Oct. 18, 1967, and had been in Vietnam since March 27, 1968.
Dennis was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist church Olin, where he had been active in the Sunday school and church, serving for several years as an usher in the church.
Survivors include his wife. Sally, Cedar Rapids; his parents, Mr and Mrs. Norman Ahrendsen, Oxford Junction; a sister, Sheryl, Mrs. Dean Wood; Olin; and a brother, James Ahrendsen, at home. He is also survived by his paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. August Ahrendsen, Olin; his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Carl Schellin, Anamosa; five nephews; a number of aunts and uncles; other relatives and friends.
Dennis Ahrendsen
4/6/15 – BY A RELATIVE
Dennis is my cousin. I never got to meet him. My dad told me the night when he was twelve and he was sleeping and all of a sudden he heard screaming and crying. He ran downstairs to see what happened. His mother answered that his cousin had been shot and killed. I imagine what Denis would have been like. Was he funny. Was he serious. Was he the type of person that when you walked into a room you would feel better. I have visited his grave and cried. Denis is dearly missed.
Mel McMorris
boyhood buddies A friend Dennis was the catcher on the high school baseball team, I was the pitcher. We sang together in the church choir in a small town of 800 people in Iowa. His dad and family were farmers, my dad managed the grain and feed business in town. He married his high school sweetheart. Dennis was about as good a person as you would want to know. He was one of the best of the best. He was thoughtful and smart. He thought he wanted to be a veterinarian but wasn’t ready to commit to five rigorous years of college. Dennis went into the Army. Went on to Vietnam March 29, 1968. He wanted to be a LRRP in the 4th Infantry Division. Did the LRRP training. His LRRP team was overrun and Dennis died of hostile small arms fire on September 6, 1968. I helped bury him about three weeks before leaving for Vietnam. I’ve had the chance to see his parents grow old. Oh how they miss him. We all do.
Monday, August 27, 2001