Friday, August 17, 2007

Scott Kirkpatrick remembered

Sgt. Scott L. Kirkpatrick, 26, was among four soldiers who died Aug. 11 in Arab Jabour, Iraq, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device.

Kirkpatrick grew up in Sterling and graduated from Park View High School in 1998.

After high school, Kirkpatrick spent time in various jobs and lived in Fairfax, Herndon and Reston before he enlisted in 2004 to the shock of both friends and family.

The decision "came out of left field," according to his uncle, Roy Deppa, who said Kirkpatrick was inspired by the events on Sept. 11 to "do something helpful for the country."

Kirkpatrick was a poet long before he was a soldier. In high school he found his passion in theater and writing, acting in high school and afterwards participating in the Elden Street Players in Herndon.

"He was the best out of everyone I knew for telling a story," said Tony Brown, 25, a friend of Kirkpatrick's since middle school. "[Enlisting] was the last thing anybody saw him doing, he used to stay up all night reading books."

Soon after enlisting Kirkpatrick married his longtime girlfriend Christy Blasingame during a 10-day furlough from his first tour in 2005.

Kirkpatrick left for his second tour of duty in Iraq in May of this year. On his myspace page, Kirkpatrick continued to post poems he wrote while overseas and posted pictures of smiling Iraqis.

"He had no malice toward these people. ... He's the exact ideal of what every soldier should be," Brown said.

Sgt. Billy Seabreeze, 26, knew Kirkpatrick since they were 12 years old, growing up mere blocks from each other. Both men enlisted in the Army at the same time and were assigned to different divisions. Kirkpatrick's unit replaced Seabreeze's in Sadr City in 2005.

"He really believed in what he was doing over there. It's an experience and he had that kind of existential attitude that he was there for the life experience, all politics aside," he said.

Seabreeze, who is recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from an injury in March, said Kirkpatrick had spoken to him on line days before he was killed and asked about Web site links for federal jobs. Seabreeze said though Kirkpatrick was fully dedicated to his mission, conditions in Iraq had become even more dangerous lately.

Deppa said that recent events had inspired Kirkpatrick to consider returning to school for teaching after his enlistment was over. Through both his tours, Deppa said Kirkpatrick continued to write.

His friends remember a self-deprecating jokester who wore combat boots long before he enlisted.

"I was kind of surprised he joined because he couldn't even go up stairs without tripping over his own feet, he always wore combat boots," said Howard Brown.

Despite the surprise that came after he enlisted, Kirkpatrick excelled as a soldier. He became a sergeant within two years of enlisting, an ascent Seabreeze said is known as a fast-track promotion.

"He amazed everybody; he got promoted just about as fast as possible," he said.

Kirkpatrick was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Ga. He is survived by his wife Christie Kirkpatrick, brother Kevin, mother Marti and father Ed. A burial will be held at Arlington National Cemetery Aug. 23 at 11 a.m.

From the Fairfax County Times

Related Link:
Scott L. Kirkpatrick dies 'of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device'