Sunday, July 17, 2011

Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth B. Elwell

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth B. Elwell, 33, of Holland, Pa.

SFC Elwell was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died July 17, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann.

Mother, Janice said, “The phone rang and I answered it. Kristen said, ‘Did you get the call? ... Kenny’s dead.’ I said ‘Oh no, my baby.’ “

His mother said that her son wanted this tour in Afghanistan to be his last.wanted to spend more time with his wife of eight years, Kristen, and his son Nicholas, 4, and daughter, Elise, 6.

“They were getting to be that age,” Elwell’s mother, Janice, said “He wanted to be home with his family.”

SFC Elwell spent some of his military career as a drill sergeant, although “to look at him, you wouldn’t think he had it in him,” his mother said.

When he and his family stayed at his mother’s home in Holland, he’d wake up early, before his wife and kids, read the paper and do the laundry. He had his hair cut every week or two, she said, and was fussy about his appearance.

“I used to say, ‘You might be a sergeant, pal, but I’m the general.’ And he’d smile out of the corner of his mouth,” recalled his mother. His father died when he was an infant.

“He didn’t really change,” said brother, Michael. “When he came home, we wanted to talk about brother things — the Phillies and our kids.”

He didn’t really talk about his time in the military, much less his time in a war zone.

The family never talked about the possibility that Ken might die, Michael said.

“He didn’t tell me nothing because he knows I worry about everything all the time,” his mother said.

SFC Elwell is survived by his mother, Janice; wife, Kristen and their two children, Elise and Nicholas; and brother, Michael.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth B. Elwell was killed in action on 7/17/11.

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