Sgt. James C. Kearney III




Sgt. James C. Kearney III

Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry (Air Assult)

1 November 2004

"Life is lived to the fullest when lived on the edge in adventure." 

~Sgt. James C. Kearney III

   Spc. James C. Kearney, III, 22, of Emerson, Iowa, died Nov. 1 in Salerno, Afghanistan, from injuries he received, when the military vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire near Sharan, Afiganistan. 

   The attack occurred Monday, Nov. 1, at 8:17 a.m., Afghanistan time. Kearney was evacuated to a U.S. Army medical facility at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, where he was pronounced dead.  He was assigned to the Iowa Army National Guard’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry (Air Assault), based in Shenandoah, Iowa.

   James was the son of James C., Jr. and Theresa Kearney.  He is survived by his parents, two brothers Jeremy and Brandon, and a sister Melinda Pease came from a family with a patriotic tradition. His father, James C. Kearney Jr., also served in the military, as does his older brother, Jeremy.  James was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Red Oak, Iowa. He graduated from Nishna Valley in 2001 and enlisted in the National Guard on Dec. 1, 1999. He was an employee of Red Oak Die Casting. James was the first Iowa National Guard soldier killed in Afghanistan. A statement from James' family, describing their son and brother as "generous, dedicated, fun and fearless, living life to its fullest and always taking risks. He enjoyed working with youth and for fun he loved to go mudding in his Jeep. He also loved the outdoors.".  He exemplified the military spirit, was highly patriotic and always willing to help.

   He was a member of Task Force 168, which includes about 700 infantry troops from the Iowa Army National Guard who are providing security throughout the war-damaged country for provincial reconstruction teams. The U.S. Central Command issued a statement that said James was part of a group providing security for a convoy that was distributing money to Afghan construction contractors in Paktika Province when they were attacked by an insurgent force. James was transported to a U.S. Army medical facility at a forward operating base in Afghanistan where he was pronounced dead.

    The Department of Defense posthumously promoted James to the rank of sergeant and awarded him the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, weapons qualification badges for both the M16-A2 (expert) and the M249 (expert), and the 34th Infantry Division combat patch.

The Kearney family request that in lieu of flowers, cards, or gifts, please send donations in memorial of James Charles Kearney, III to the U.S.O. in support of our troops


   Also injured in the attack with serious shrapnel wounds were Spec. Kenneth Lukes, 29, of Protivin, who lost his left arm. Kenneth is a member of of  Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, Iowa Army National Guard, assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry (Air Assault); and Spec. Michael Johnson, 22, of Red Oak a member of Company B, who suffered injuries to his lower extremities. They were flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, according to a statement given by Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood, the Iowa National Guard's public affairs officer.  The death of James and the serious injuries to Kenneth Lukes and Michael Johnson was a sad day for their family and friends.