Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

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Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Ruski on Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:31 pm

He was a family friend of ours.

Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler was a free spirit, loving life and anxious to become a new father.

He also was loyal to his troops.

Kessler, 32, of Canton, and four other soldiers were killed Monday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s Arghandab River Valley.

His death was confirmed Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Defense.

“He wanted to serve America,” said his sister, Emily Lightner.

His stepmother, Sue Kessler, added: “If (his troops) were there, he wanted to be there with them.

“He wanted to watch their backs, like they would watch his.”

VIOLENT AUGUST

During August, the U.S. death toll stood at 55 in Afghanistan — 19 of those U.S. service members were killed since Saturday.

Kessler and the other four soldiers were based at Fort Carson in Colorado. His family said he was deployed Aug. 4.

Kessler, a motor transport operator, served in the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He joined the unit Nov. 19, 2009.

Kessler joined the Army on June 2, 2004, and was deployed twice to Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan.

“He was a happy-go-lucky, free-spirit guy,” said his aunt, Jane Kmatz. “(But) he wanted to serve a purpose.”

WIFE EXPECTING

Kessler’s family threw him a party before he left the country in early July. It was a celebration, of sorts.

Kessler’s wife, Adrian, had found out she was pregnant, and they shared the good news with the entire family.

“Kevin was just so proud and so excited (about becoming a father),” Lightner said after talking Wednesday with Adrian.

Kessler was a 1996 graduate of East Canton High School, serving as class vice president.

As a youth, he was a Denver Broncos fan. Later in life, he became a die-hard supporter of the Cleveland Browns.

Sue Kessler said her last conversation with her stepson, via Facebook on Sunday, was about the Browns and their chances this season.

“He did not think in his lifetime they would win a Super Bowl. But he was hopeful,” she said.

Kessler was a heavy metal music fan and adventurer who climbed Pikes Peak in Colorado. Sue Kessler said Kevin loved to vacation in Cumberland, Ky., where the entire family would water ski and party on a houseboat during the summer.

“He enjoyed a good party,” Sue Kessler said.

Lightner said her brother was “everyone’s friend” with a sense of humor. He also was passionate about his military career.

“He was there because that’s where he was supposed to be,” she said.

Kessler is survived by his wife, Adrian; his parents and their spouses, Kristine and Rod Williams and Larry and Sue Kessler; his sisters, Emily Lightner and Laura Rohr; his brother, Daniel; his grandparents, Annie and John Rhuark and numerous other relatives.

Kessler earned 27 medals.

The other soldiers killed were Capt. Dale A. Goetz of White, S.D., Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante of Cypress, Texas, Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West of Conover, Wisc., and Pfc. Chad D. Clements of Huntington, Ind.
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Death no More on Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:12 am

That's sad, very sad Sad
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by PiEdude on Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:53 am

That part at the top, was he a family friend of yours, or was this part of an e-mail?
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Ruski on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:11 am

PiEdude wrote:That part at the top, was he a family friend of yours, or was this part of an e-mail?

He was a family friend of ours.
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by PiEdude on Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:22 am

Then I'm sorry for your loss Sad
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Nocbl2 on Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:38 am

With great death, comes great life.

He's in a better place now.
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Zaki90 on Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:17 pm

zaki you are an asshole who does nothing but troll this forum



consider this your last warning, any further trolling from you will result in a permaban


-KrAzY

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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Gauz on Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:22 pm

His wife has the same name as mine....


*sigh*


Anyway, that is very sad.
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by PiEdude on Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:04 pm

Gauz wrote:His wife has the same name as mine....

Age: 16

What?
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Gauz on Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:33 pm

PiEdude wrote:
Gauz wrote:His wife has the same name as mine....

Age: 16

What?
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Death no More on Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:05 am

Gauz wrote:
PiEdude wrote:
Gauz wrote:His wife has the same name as mine....

Age: 16

What?
I lol'd Hard, I think gauz is 21 or something around there, but I dont think he has a wife...
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by RX on Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:15 am

Death no More wrote:
Gauz wrote:
PiEdude wrote:
Gauz wrote:His wife has the same name as mine....

Age: 16

What?
I lol'd Hard, I think gauz is 21 or something around there, but I dont think he has a wife...
Gauz is 16 as far as I know, and he meant that the wife(adrian) shares the same name as his own.
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Esruku on Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:36 pm

This is why America should pull its troops out of the whole of middle east, Muslims say there tolerant and peaceful, just like this image potrays
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Ruski on Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:44 pm

Esruku wrote:This is why America should pull its troops out of the whole of middle east, Muslims say there tolerant and peaceful, just like this image potrays

I sincerely hope you are kidding....
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Esruku on Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:46 pm

Ruski wrote:
Esruku wrote:This is why America should pull its troops out of the whole of middle east, Muslims say there tolerant and peaceful, just like this image potrays

I sincerely hope you are kidding....
wat do u mean
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Re: Canton soldier killed in Afghanistan

Post by Ruski on Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:22 pm

EAST CANTON — Like those before him, and those who will follow, Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler sacrificed his life to protect our nation, to defend our liberties.

Kessler “was a hero,” said Army Lt. Gen. William Troy.

Kessler has been laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery in Perry Township. The 32-year-old East Canton man and four other U.S. soldiers were killed in action Aug. 30 in Afghanistan.

His life was honored Saturday in the gymnasium at the new East Canton High School, where hundreds attended the service. Born in Canton, he was a 1996 graduate of East Canton High.

“If you were in a bad mood, you called him. That’s the guy Kevin was,” said longtime friend Jimmy Fuller, after the services. “I probably have three friends I could say I love, and he was one of them.”

Posthumously, the Army awarded Kessler with the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. His wife, Adrian, and his mother and father each received the medals and a folded U.S. flag from the military.

His wife is pregnant.

Representatives from Blue Stars Mothers of America presented Gold Star banners to the family. A gold star is displayed if a service member is killed in action or dies in service.

Inside the gym, family and friends sat in the bleachers and on chairs. There was a flag-draped silver casket. Funeral bouquets and a podium were behind the casket.

Rev. Steve Bucy, giving the eulogy, said Kessler had a contagious spirit and zeal for life, with a heart of courage, which he took into the military and guided him in his journeys.

Kessler enlisted in 2004. He was deployed twice to Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan.

“He followed in the footsteps of so many people before him, who laid down their lives, so the ideals of freedom would survive,” Bucy told the congregation. “So this one nation, under God, with a government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.

“No one here can question his love and his devotion and his loyalty and service to country. He gave his all.”

Kessler’s services occurred nine years after the attacks of Sept. 11 in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. Those attacks prompted the U.S. and allies to invade Afghanistan.

At that time, the Taliban ruled the Middle Eastern country and supported the terrorist group, Al-Qaida, which claimed responsibility for the attacks.

U.S. troops and those of its allies remain in Afghanistan.

“Nine years ago, our country was brutally attacked by barbarians who slaughtered innocent men, women and children,” Troy said. “I saw what they did.

“(Kessler) gave us his life defending us against these people. He was in Afghanistan, but he was not in Afghanistan to defend Afghanistan. He was in Afghanistan to defend the United States of America and all of us here today. It’s a terrible loss, but the cause he died for was just.

“Kevin gave his life for our freedom.”

Following the service, Kessler’s body was taken to the Perry Township cemetery. The 11-mile funeral procession was led by police and motorcyclists, the Patriot Guard Riders. The motorcycle group attends funeral services of fallen U.S. soldiers, as invited guests, to pay their respects.

Kessler’s funeral procession was watched by thousands of supportive residents. There were signs and flags, even some hand salutes.

Among the crowd was Louisville resident Wade Dillon, whose son, Benjamin, serves as an Army chaplain in Iraq. Clutching a large U.S. flag, Dillon said Kessler’s death hit close to home.

He prays “its one of the last (deaths).”

Clifford Toalston, a Word War II veteran, came out for the procession because, “I feel we have obligation, as an ex-service member, to honor those who give the supreme sacrifice.”

At the cemetery, under a blue sky, family and friends gathered by the casket — for a final time — to say goodbye. Kessler received a 21-gun salute and a bugler performed “Taps.”

“We all broke down on that,” said another friend Jason Mills. “We’re just trying to embrace him and honor him. We’re friends and that’s the least we can do.”

As Bucy told the congregation: “His spirit was as contagious as his smile. He had a passion for life. Nothing lukewarm. Nothing halfway. He fully engaged in life with his exuberance and enthusiasm.

“Kevin’s legacy is intact.”



An Army honor guard carries the casket of Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler, following memorial services at East Canton High School Saturday, September 11, 2010.



East Canton is decorated with thousands of flags and many signs honoring Staff Sgt. Kevin Kessler.



Adrian Kessler, wife of Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler, cries as she watches Kessler's coffin placed in the hearse during funderal services Saturday, September 11, 2010.



Hundreds of friends, family members and mourners from the community paid homage to Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler’s life on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.
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