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Farm boy died as he would have wanted
Warriors Walk additions
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Family and friends of Pfc. David Kirkpatrick gather in prayer following Thursday’s tree dedication ceremony on Fort Stewart’s Warriors Walk. - photo by Photo by Andrea Washington


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As a farm kid in Matthews, Ind., David Kirkpatrick was fascinated with the military. He spent most of his free time counting down the days until he would be eligible to lead a life similar to the soldiers he read about in books and saw in movies.
When he decided to follow his childhood aspiration and join the Army, however, his father, Kenny Kirkpatrick, was against him signing-up.
“I didn’t want him to go,” the father said. “I tried to talk him out of it, but he was bound and determined to go.”
The 20-year-old enlisted in the Army in January 2006 and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division’s 5th Squadron, 7th Calvary Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team as a light-wheel mechanic in July of the same year.
Pfc. Kirkpatrick was living his dream when he was killed by a roadside blast while recovering a damaged vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq, on April 27. He was just one month shy of returning home on leave.
His life and the lives of nine other 3rd ID members killed in Iraq were the latest to be etched into history on Fort Stewart’s Warriors Walk Thursday.
Eastern Red Bud trees and granite markers honoring the ten soldiers were added to the living memorial during a tree dedication ceremony Thursday morning. The site now commemorates 336 division members who have been killed since the start of the Iraq war in 2003.
Kenny Kirkpatrick said his family visited Warriors Walk last year when his son was first assigned to Fort Stewart. He, his wife and four daughters prayed they would never have to return to the memorial.
Standing a few yards from his only son’s dedicated tree, the father said he wished he could have his son back, but knows in his heart the younger Kirkpatrick got what he wanted out of his military service.
“When it came for his time to go, it was exactly the way he would’ve wanted,” the grieving father said as he fought back tears. “It was a fine ending to a wonderful young life that was cut short.”
Reflecting on his original opposition to his son’s decision to join the Army, Kirkpatrick said he was now proud of his son and others who gave their lives to protect the country.
“These boys are all American heroes,” he said. “Without what they have done for our country, you and I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Here’s the complete list of 3rd ID soldiers honored during Thursday’s tree ceremony:
- Pfc. Nicholas E. Riehl, 21, of Shiocton, Wis.
- Spc. Eddie D. Tamez, 21, of Galveston, Texas.
- Pfc. David A. Kirkpatrick, 20, of Matthews, Ind.
- Sgt. Glenn D. Hicks Jr., 24, of College Station, Texas.
- Pfc. Jay-D H. Ornsby-Adkins, 21, of Ione, Calif.
- Pvt. Cole E. Spencer, 21, of Gays, Ill.
- Sgt. Blake C. Stephens, 25, of Pocatello, Idaho.
- Spc. Kyle A. Little, 20, of West Boylston, Mass.
- Sgt. Allen J. Dunckley, 25, of Yardley, Pa.
- Sgt. Christopher N. Gonzalez, 25, of Winslow, Ariz.
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