Army Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk, 30, of South Portland, Maine
Sgt. Kirk was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 3, 2009 in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his contingency outpost with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fires. Also killed were Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, Spc. Stephan L. Mace, Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, Sgt. Michael P. Scusa and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson.
EXETER — The husband of a former Exeter woman was one of the U.S. servicemen killed Saturday in Taliban attacks in northern Afghanistan.
Army Sgt. Joshua Kirk, 30, on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, was killed when insurgents stormed two remote bases.
The soldier lived in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he was stationed, with his wife, Megan Gavin-Kirk, and their 2-year-old daughter, Kensington.
Gavin-Kirk grew up in Exeter and graduated in 2001 from Portsmouth Christian Academy in Dover. She met Kirk while attending Southern Maine Community College in the fall of 2004. Kirk, originally from South Portland, majored in construction technology.
Jonathan Tymann of Stratham was principal of Portsmouth Christian Academy when Gavin-Kirk was a student. While he hasn't spoken to her since graduation, he has followed her on Facebook and remembers a girl with a "spirit of Christ" who was "full of life and spirit, and fun to be around."
It is clear from her online postings, Tymann said, that Gavin-Kirk was "deeply in love" with her husband. "It's a tragedy, and he was a hero for fighting for us," Tymann said.
Kirk enlisted in the U.S. Army in the spring of 2005, and served with the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Eight soldiers and two Afghan security force members were killed in the day-long battle that took Kirk's life. According to freedomremembered.com, enemy forces attacked Kirk's contingency outpost with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fire. The eight U.S. soldiers killed were all based at Fort Carson. Also killed were Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, Sgt. Michael P. Scusa, Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, Spc. Stephan L. Mace and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson. It was the heaviest loss of life for U.S. forces in a single battle since July 2008, when nine American soldiers were killed in the same province.
Kirk had been deployed for the past five months. His first tour of duty lasted for 15 months.
Gavin-Kirk and her daughter are in the prayers of many locally, Tymann said, and he added it seems they have a good support network of family and friends. "The thing that was encouraging to me is that her Christian faith has continued to keep her strong," Tymann said, observing Gavin-Kirk's online postings. "She knows she is surrounded by family and friends who will keep her strong, but also understands that she is supported not only here on Earth, but that God is looking out for her."
The Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home announced Kirk's death Wednesday. The notice said Kirk believed in what he was fighting for and was a highly decorated soldier. He was also recognized as a devoted husband and father.
Kirk has not been identified as a victim of the attacks by Fort Carson's public information office and the identities of the soldiers have not been released by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Air Force has confirmed the identities of the soldiers and Kirk's was among the bodies flown to Delaware yesterday.
Kirk received numerous medals and awards during his service with the Army, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Commendation and Army Achievement medals.
Army Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk was killed in action on 10/03/09.
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