Daniel G. Gresham – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 203-05
February 25, 2005

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sergeant Daniel G. Gresham, 23, of Lincoln, Illinois, died February 24, 2005, in Camp Wilson, Iraq, when a second improvised explosive device detonated while he was responding to a first device.  Gresham was assigned to the 797th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 79th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

By Edith Brady-Lunn

LINCOLN, ILLINOIS – A memorial service will be March 12 to honor the first soldier from Lincoln killed in the war in Iraq.

Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Gresham was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb near Baghdad. Gresham and his family lived in Lincoln until he entered the military about five years ago. Relatives still reside in nearby Atlanta.


“He was the first casualty we've had in Logan County from the Iraq war so we wanted to have a memorial service,” said Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis. AMVETS, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts helped organize the ceremony, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. at All Veterans Park.

A family service for the 23-year-old munitions specialist will be in Chicago, with burial in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The mayor has asked that flags in Lincoln be flown at half-staff through the memorial service.

The loss of a Lincoln soldier struck a personal chord for Davis, whose son is serving with the U.S. Marines in Kuwait in the Persian Gulf.

“This really hit close to home,” said Davis.

Sacrifice of 2 Soldiers Honored at Arlington
Different Paths Led to Service in Iraq


General Antonio M. Taguba presents Esther Gresham the flag from her son's coffin.
Staff Sergeant Daniel G. Gresham was killed on patrol last month

By Leef Smith
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Tuesday, March 8, 2005

One soldier was following family tradition, joining the Army right out of high school. The other soldier was not a U.S. citizen, but he wanted to serve his new country after emigrating from South Korea. He, too, enlisted.

Yesterday, Staff Sergeant Daniel G. Gresham, 23, and Private First Class Min Soo Choi, 21, casualties of Operation Iraqi Freedom, were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in separate ceremonies.

“Today, we come together to lay to rest another patriot,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Kerr, an Army Chaplain, gusts of wind carrying his words to the mourners seated before Choi's coffin.

Choi, of River Vale, New Jersey, was assigned to the Army's 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He was killed February 26, 2005, in Abertha, Iraq, when an explosive device detonated while he was on patrol in a Humvee.

Also killed in the attack was Private Landon S. Giles, 19, of Indiana, Pennsylvania.

According to news reports, Choi wanted to become an Army officer and was looking forward to obtaining his U.S. citizenship. He was killed less than a month after arriving in Iraq.

Choi's family emigrated from Seoul seven years ago. After coming to America, Choi spent several years learning English.

“My son said he needed to serve our country,” Choi's father, Jong Choi, told the Journal News of Westchester County, New York.

Yesterday, family and friends sang a hymn in Korean before placing dozens of long-stemmed red roses at his grave.

An hour later, Choi's grave and the blanket of flowers adorning it would become the backdrop for Gresham's graveside memorial.

Gresham, of Lincoln, Illinois, was assigned to the 797th Ordnance Company (explosive ordinance disposal), 79th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordinance, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was killed February 24, 2005, at Camp Wilson, Iraq, when an explosive device detonated while he was responding to another blast.

“There are 150,000 kids over there,” Gresham's father, Gene Gresham, told the Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois, shortly after learning of his son's death. “Twelve hundred of them have died. Who would have guessed one of them would be mine?”

Gene Gresham told the Pantagraph it was a family tradition to do a tour of duty with the Army. He said the last family member killed in action was an uncle who died in World War I.

His son's loss, he said, was a devastation. “I haven't stopped crying since I heard it,” he said.

Gresham's funeral was held under warm, blue skies and was attended by dozens of friends and relatives who wept as taps whispered through the leafless trees.

Also attending the service was Major General Antonio M. Taguba, who wrote a report detailing the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Yesterday, Choi and Gresham were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

They were the 120th and 121st service members killed in Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The total number of U.S. military personnel killed in the Iraq war as of yesterday morning was 1,499, including four civilian Defense Department employees.

Lincoln mourns Daniel Gene Gresham, killed in Iraq
Sunday, March 13, 2005
By Paul Ayars

“His was a life that was given, not just when taken in Iraq on February 24, 2005, but at age 17 when he entered the service. He gave his life at that point.”

The Rev. Tony Shuff of New Wine Fellowship of Lincoln eulogized Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Gene Gresham of Lincoln on Saturday during an hourlong community memorial service. Gresham became the first Logan County native to die in Iraq.

Several hundred people filled the town's All Veterans Park for the observance, which started with the slow tolling of a nearby church bell. Near-freezing, cold, gray conditions seemed to accent the solemn occasion.

Gresham, 23, a munitions specialist, died when an explosive device detonated while he was responding to an earlier explosion of another device at Camp Wilson, Iraq.

He served with the 797th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 79th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance, based at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

As the service started, black cloth draped Gresham's gray engraved brick, donated by the city and now one of nearly 1,500 commemorative bricks in the park honoring local servicemen, living and dead.

“Dan Gresham SSG EOD Iraq KIA 2-24-05” read the brick, tearfully uncovered by Gresham's mother, Esther. She and Gresham's two adult sisters also placed a wreath at the site near the display's main Union Street entrance.

Gresham's many service medals lined the top of the park's main memorial. A framed service portrait of Gresham stood nearby.

Shuff was minister to the Gresham family. Gresham attended the fellowship's Lincoln school.

Gresham's father, Gene, of West Plains, Missouri, who also attended the service, is also a Lincoln native in a family with six generations of military veterans. An ancestor, Berton Gresham of Atlanta in Logan County, died in World War I and is buried in Atlanta Cemetery.

Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis and local veterans organizations coordinated the service. Davis' son, Joe, recently returned from his own military service in Iraq.

Davis read “Taps,” composed by Civil War Army Gen. Daniel Butterfield, and presented a Bible to Gresham's family.

A huge American flag draped from a Lincoln Fire Department aerial truck formed a backdrop to the occasion.

The throng also included many veterans and active military personnel, including four soldiers from the National Guard's 233rd Military Police Unit in Springfield.

One of them, Matthew Hanselhorst, read eulogy reflections of Gresham from service buddy Jamie Ulm, who remains stationed in Iraq. Ulm said he looked forward to reuniting with Gresham in heaven and resuming their good times together.

Gresham's funeral was last week in suburban Chicago, where his mother and sisters now live. He was buried Monday in Arlington National Cemetery.

dggresham-funeral-photo-03The honor guard carry the coffin of Staff Sgt. Daniel G. Gresham, during a funeral ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, March 7, 2005,

dggresham-funeral-photo-02Esther Gresham, center, mother of Staff Sgt. Daniel G. Gresham, is presented with an American flag that draped her son's coffin, by Maj. Gen Antonio Taguba, left, during a funeral ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 05/23/1981
  • DATE OF DEATH: 02/24/2005

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