Friday, October 23, 2009

Army Pfc. Kimble A. Han

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Kimble A. Han, 30, of Lehi, Utah

Pfc. Han was assigned to the 569th Mobility Augmentation Company, 4th Engineer Battalion, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 23, 2009 in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an IED. Also killed was Spc. Eric N. Lembke.

Desert News -- The last thing Lisa Barnes said to her son, Kimble A. Han, was to be careful.

"'You be safe,' I said. But he didn't always listen to me," said Barnes in her Saratoga Springs home Monday.

Barnes had returned the night before from Dover Air Force Base, Del., where she watched as six solders carried her son's remains from an Air Force transport jet.

"He's a hero," Barnes said. "I just wish he could have found another way to make me proud."

Han, 30, an Army private first class, was one of two soldiers who died in Afghanistan last Friday when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

The Department of Defense announced Monday that Han and Spec. Eric N. Lembke, 25, of Tampa, Fla., were killed.

The Department of Defense announced Monday that Han and Spec. Eric N. Lembke, 25, of Tampa, Fla., were killed.

Both served with the 569th Mobility Augmentation Co., 4th Engineer Battalion out of Fort Carson, Colo. The unit, according to a CNN story earlier this year, had barely begun operations in Iraq in late February when it was ordered to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

According to the commander, the shift in the unit's focus was the result of renewed attention on bolstering efforts in Afghanistan, where the battalion specialized in route clearance — finding and destroying land mines and bombs.

Han was the second of eight children, His father died in car accident when he was 14. The family moved around a lot, living in Nevada, Colorado, Oregon and Washington before his family settled in Saratoga Springs five years ago.

"It's been hard on him," his mother said. "He kind of lost his way for a while."

He had attended LDS Business College for a short time, and has made a living as a construction worker.

"He started to straighten up the last two years and joined the military in an effort to reclaim himself," Barnes said. The discipline of military service apparently worked. "When I went to see him graduate from basic training, I had my son back."

Family members describe Han as a gifted athlete and an ardent New England Patriots fan. His enlistment didn't surprise his mother.

"He was my little warrior from the time he was born," Barnes said. "He had spunk. He was never scared of anything or anybody. Last week was the first time I ever heard fear in his voice."

She said her son had expressed interest in returning to the LDS faith in which he had been raised, and said the family was relying on their religious belief right now.

"We've been through loss before with his father. Now that we've lost Kimble, it's like God is taking care of us," she said. U.S. Flags decorate the Barnes' front yard, placed by members of the local LDS ward.

Army Pfc. Kimble A. Han was killed in action on 10/23/09.

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