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First Name: Brian

Last Name: Slavenas

Birthplace: DeKalb, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Donatus

Date of Birth: 19 December 1972

Date of Death: 02 November 2003

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served:
Brian Donatus Slavenas

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Brian Donatus Slavenas
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Brian Donatus Slavenas was born on 19 December 1972, in DeKalb, IL, the son of Ronald Slavenas, a Lithuanian-born immigrant who came to the U.S. in his teens. His father became a paratrooper and instilled in his sons, Eric, Marcus and Brian, a sense of commitment to this country. All three sons served in the U.S. military.

As a child, Brian moved to Fort Wayne, IN, but later moved back to Illinois and attended DeKalb High School. An excellent student, he participated in the marching band, the National Honor Society, chess club, intramural basketball and track. Brian was also an accomplished classical pianist. He graduated from DeKalb High School in 1990.

Military Service

Brian enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1991 and became a paratrooper. He served until 1995 when he transferred to the National Guard. He received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in 2000 and went on to train as a helicopter pilot. During his pilot training, Brian was considered to be an outstanding student; he even received an A+ in the Instrument Flying course. After studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign intermittingly for seven years, he graduated in December 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.

At 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing nearly 230 pounds, Brian was a weightlifter who could bench-press over 400 pounds, but family and friends called him a gentle giant. He was shy, enjoyed travel, watching track meets, and attending sports events. Brian was frugal and saved his money. He was also an informed buyer and never purchased anything without first looking it up in Consumer Reports.

1LT Brian Slavenas' unit, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion, Army National Guard, Peoria, IL, was deployed to Iraq on 15 April 2003. His unit's primary mission was the transport of personnel and heavy equipment. As a Chinook helicopter pilot, Brian enjoyed flying dignitaries, soldiers, Iraqi prisoners and equipment. He also liked to checkout historical sites from his pilot's seat.

On 2 November 2003, Slavenas was serving as copilot of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that was struck by a SA-7 ground-to-air missile fired by insurgents. The missile took out the number 2 engine and the helicopter went down in Al Fallujah. Brian was one of the 17 soldiers killed in the crash.

Badges, Medals and Awards

Army Aviator Badge

Bronze Star Medal

Purple Heart

National Defense Service Ribbon
Iraqi Freedom Medal
Parachutist Badge


The University of Illinois Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering established the Brian Slavenas IE Outstanding Member Award and Scholarship Fund in his memory.

Honoree ID: 868   Created by: MHOH




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