Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Army Pfc. John F. Kihm

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. John F. Kihm, 19, of Philadelphia, Pa.

Pfc Kihm was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died April 19, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. The Defense Department and Fort Drum did not disclose the circumstances.

The last time his mom, Cecelia, talked to her son was when he had called over the weekend to tell her that he would be home for 15 days in July. "Part of me can't believe it," said his mother.

He loved the Phillies, so, his mother told him she would try to get five tickets so the family could catch a ball game. "I know they're going to win," Kihm had predicted, because he would be at the ballpark.

Pfc Kihm joined the Army on St Patrick's Day in March 2010. After completing training at Fort Benning, Ga., Kihm reported to Fort Drum in August.

Once his mother joked to him, "You didn't get the memo. The war's all over, and they're sending you back to me."

"No, Mom," Kihm said. "This is really where I want to be."

"And it broke my heart," his mother recalled. "But I know it's what he wanted."

Pfc Kihm found his way home many weekends, on leave from Fort Drum. He was so humble, his mother said, "he didn't want to ever wear his uniform out."

Pfc Kihm deployed to Afghanistan last month. He had been in Kandahar for 31 days.

Kihm, an honor student at Cardinal Dougherty High School, graduated in 2009. He competed on the wrestling team, often with his dad cheering from the stands, and ran on the school's cross country team.

Former coach and teacher, Larry Teal, said "He was a really great kid, really smart."

After graduating high school, Kihm attended a semester at Pennsylvania State University's Abington campus.

"But his love of the Army was all his life," said his mother. "He was patriotic since he was little. I have pictures of him holding the flag.

Teal also remembered Kihm's passion to serve. "He wanted to go to the service all through high school," the teacher remembered.

Pfc Kihm's awards and decorations for his service include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

His mother and father brought their son's body home to Philadelphia last Thursday from Dover Air Force Base. Family stated funeral services will be held after Holy Week.

He is survived by his mother, Cecelia and his father.

Army Pfc. John F. Kihm was killed in action on 4/19/11.

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