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Paul J Finken


As many of you know, on November 2, 2006, we lost our dear friend and classmate, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Finken in Iraq. Many of our classmates made their journey through school from kindergarten all the way through graduation with him; others of us had the great fortune of knowing him in our high school years. We all have our own “best” memories of Paul: Paul the twin, Paul the comedian, Paul the athlete, Paul the soldier, Paul the husband, Paul the father, and through it all, Paul the friend. As Father Berner said at his funeral, “Paul, I am a better {man} for having known you.”

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Finken of Mason City, Iowa was raised in Earling, a western Iowa town of 470 people. He graduated from Harlan High School, attended Iowa State University for one year before transferring to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he graduated in 1989. He had been a career Army officer.

Paul was a warm, bright person who often smiled and was dedicated to his country. His awards and decorations include Weapons Qualification, M9, expert; Bronze Star medal (2); Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (3); Army Achievement Medal (2); Iraqi Campaign Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; Army Superior Unit Award; National Defense Service Medal (2); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; NATO Service Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Air Assault Badge; Combat Infantry Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; Parachutists Badge; Pathfinder Badge; and the Ranger Tab.

He leaves behind a wife, Jackie, and three daughters, Emilie, Caroline, and Julia. Also six brothers, Steve, Alan, Richard, Dave, Mark and Peter. Two sisters, Jean Pruitt, and Joan Henscheid. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Edna Finken, and by his brother, John.

Paul Finken was 40 years old.


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