The US Military All*Stars are proud to dedicate this very special page
to Honor the life of Alex Van Alten.
Alexander van Alten, Sgt. US ARMY
Alexander van Alten was born on September 2nd 1985 in Orlando Florida. At age 2½ we moved to Monterey, Tennessee. Alex has an older brother Dax age 41 who is married and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, he is an artist. Alex has a sister Nicole age 38 who is a Sergeant in the US Army and presently stationed in Tampa, Florida at CENTCOM. Sgt. Nicole van Aalten between the Air Force and US Army has served her country for more than 14 years now and has had multiple deployments in the middle east.
On June 25, 2005 Alex married Shana De Ann Sorrell (who has since remarried and resides in Seattle, WA). Alex attended the Cookevile Senior High, Cookeville, Tennessee He was in the JROTC and became the Batallion Commander. His leadership skills and dedication was formed early on in his life. He was a black belt in Ti Kwon Do Karate. He was an instructor and taught children at Jack Scott Studio in Cookeville. Even as a small child Alex wanted to be a soldier. When our nation was attacked on September 11, 2001 that clinched the deal. Alex was a freshman in high school. It was with a great sense of duty, passion, enthusiasm, zeal and his strong faith in the Lord that he entered the US Army on June 10, 2004. Stationed first at Fort Benning Georgia he completed Boot Camp and was accepted in Airborne School. He was then transferred to Fort Brag, North Carolina and became a member of the 82nd Airborne.
He loved jumping out of those perfectly good airplanes. Alex did his first deployment in Iraq in September 2005. His skills in leadership became readily apparent and he excelled. On January 20th 2007 he again deployed, this time to Afghanistan. While there he became Sergeant and re-enlisted for another 6 years.
The war in Afghanistan has been accelerating. The American troops had been working hand in hand with NATO forces. On the morning of April 20, 2007 Alex volunteered for a mission to rescue a Dutch soldier that was in trouble. On this early morning Alexander van Aalten, Sergeant of the United States Army stepped on a land mine and gave his life for what he believed in. His short 21 years were years of fulfillment and love for all of those whose lives he touched. He was a bright light in our lives and will be forever a shining beacon for us all. We miss him dearly. He is our Hero.
“No one has greater love than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
- Susan van Aalten, Mother
- Ed van Aalten, Father
- Dax van Aalten, Brother
- Nicole van Aalten, Sister
- Shana van Aalten-Ramsey, Wife
- Connie Stinson, Mother-in-law
- Tim Stinson, Father-in-law.
Sgt. Alexander van Aalten is buried in Arlington Memorial Cemetery in Section 60.
He is the recipient of the following medals:
- Bronze Star Medal
- Purple Heart
- Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Iraqi Campaign Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Army Service Ribbon
- Overseas Service Ribbon
- NATO Medal
- Combat Infantryman’s Badge
- Parachutist’s Badge
- Netherlands Decoration of Merit synonymous with the Congressional Medial of Honor.
(This from a news article)
NETHERLANDS MINISTER OF DEFENSE AWARDS MEDAL POSTUMOUSLY
On 12th of September 2007 by special invitation to Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia, American sergeant Alexander van Alten, (a descendant of Dutch ancestors) posthumously received the Decoration of Merit in gold. On 20th day of April 2007 Van Aalten, while in Afghanistan, volunteered to assist with the rescue/recovery of a fallen Dutch Corporal, Cor Strik who had been found to have been killed by an land mine. Van Aalten was however killed himself by a land mine while attempting to retrieve the body of Strik. The gold Decoration of Merit is the highest award given to the military in the Netherlands and was presented by Netherlands minister of defense Eimert van Middelkoop to the widow Shana van Aalten and his parents, Edward and Susan van Aalten. Van Middelkoop concluded the ceremony by saying that, “we owe Alex Van Aalten much, but first of all we owe him a promise that, just as he did not forget his fallen Dutch brother in arms, we must never forget as well his supreme sacrifice for all of us”.
Ironically Sgt. Alex van Alten was with the 82nd Airborne 1-508 PIR. It was the 82nd Airborne, this unit, that played a large role in the liberation of the Netherlands during the World War II. Again an American from the 82nd Airborne bravely comes to the rescue of the Dutch ally.