By KEVIN DOUGHERTY | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: November 17, 2006
WIESBADEN, Germany — It’s almost as if his infectious smile and good graces reached across the Great Divide to touch his mentors one last time.
From: BC-MS--Iraq-Mspi Casualty JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _
Douglas Kennard says his son, Army Sgt. Courtland A. Kennard, was "a great young man, very energetic and fun-loving". "And now, I am going to miss him a lot," the elder Kennard told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The soldier, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq last week, grew up in a military family and moved frequently. Still, the family always maintained close ties to Starkville, and the north Mississippi city was listed as Kennard's home when the Department of Defense announced his death. Funeral arrangements for the 22-year-old are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Mount Peiler Missionary Baptist Church in Starkville, said Douglas Kennard. Kennard said his son will be buried in Starkville.
A great-uncle, Bobby Macon of Starkville, said Kennard visited relatives in Mississippi in July, shortly before being sent to Iraq. "He was just a little quiet kid, smiled a lot. I can't recall him ever getting in any trouble," Macon said Monday.
The Defense Department announced Monday that Kennard and Staff Sgt. Gregory McCoy, 26, of Webberville, Mich., were killed Thursday when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Baghdad. Kennard and McCoy were assigned to the Army's 410th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
The Associated Press has counted at least 45 soldiers with strong Mississippi ties who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One, Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Robinson, died in Afghanistan, while the others were killed in Iraq.
Douglas Kennard said he and his wife presently live in Foot Hood, Texas, where he is preparing to retire after 21 years in the Army. Courtland Kennard attended elementary school in Starkville and graduated from General H. H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 2002, while his father was stationed there. He was a young teenager when he decided he'd eventually join the military, Macon said. "When he got about 14, he kind of just wanted to follow his daddy's footsteps," Macon said.
Kennard's survivors include his parents; brother Jamar Kennard; and grandparents Emma Kennard and C.D. and Luevenia Simmons, all of Starkville.
Published in The Washington Post on Nov. 28, 2006.
Carl Smith | November 12, 2013 9:46:27 AM
Thomas Boyd and Walter Zuber, both retired sergeants, check out the new monument outside of the Oktibbeha County Courthouse honoring local soldiers that have given the ultimate sacrifice dating back to the first World War. The monument was unveiled following a Veterans Day service that included the reading of all the names etched on the memorial.
After Jeff Donald finished his Veterans Day speech dedicating Oktibbeha County's newest memorial to fallen local servicemen, he said he couldn't help but be overwhelmed with emotions.
Monday's dedication at the courthouse marked the fulfillment of a vision Donald had about five years ago when those paying homage to Veterans Day read aloud the name of Army Sgt. Courtland Anshun Kennard, a Starkville-born soldier who died the previous year while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. A plaque that stood on the courthouse grounds at the time no longer had room for additional entries.
Donald and a band of organizers went to work in the following years so Kennard's sacrifice would be remembered. Another Starkville serviceman, Army Cpl. Robert "Taylor" McDavid, would fall two years later again in Iraq, fueling their quest.
"We all have friends who did not return. I do not want to forget them," said Donald, a retired infantryman and co-chair of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's Military Affairs Committee. "If we didn't add their names to this monument, people would forget the ultimate sacrifice that these people gave for our country. We engraved their names so when people come back, they will always remember."
The new monument itself cost in excess of $10,000 and was paid for through numerous private donations, as well as contributions from local businesses and organizations, including the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars groups.
"The Military Affairs Committee...has worked tirelessly to raise funds and organize the construction and installation of the monument. I know I join the community in appreciation for their efforts and passion for honoring our community's veterans," said GSDP CEO Jennifer Gregory. "Starkville has a long history of military excellence including contributions to flight training and aerospace engineering, so it's especially fitting for us to take time to continue to honor that history and those individuals who have defended our nation's freedom."
Kennard joined the Army in Jan. 2003 and was deployed three years later to Iraq, where he served as a military policeman assigned to the 720th Military Police Battalion of the 89th Military Police Brigade, a copy of Donald's Monday speech states. Kennard was killed that November after his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.
McDavid enlisted in the Army in 2005 and deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division to Iraq a year later, Donald's speech states. While on foot patrol in 2008, he and four other soldiers were killed after an insurgent detonated an explosives-packed vest.
"We will never forget and always honor the sacrifices these two young men made for all of us," Donald said.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch