Screaming Eagles Through Time
SSgt. Morgan D. Kennon


Memphis, Tennessee
Killed in action November 7, 2003

SSgt. Morgan Kennon

Memphis soldier loses dream in Iraq

By Associated Press
November 10, 2003

MEMPHIS - Morgan D. Kennon joined the Army immediately after high school to earn money for college. He hoped one day to become a lawyer.

That dream was lost last week when Kennon, 23, a staff sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division, died in an attack on an Army convoy guarding a bank in Mosul, Iraq. He apparently was the first Memphis resident killed in the war.

"He was a beautiful kid," Kennon's father, Morgan Kennon, said of his tall, slender and studious namesake.

"He was a serious-minded youngster who was devoted to fulfilling his mother's wishes," his father said. "If his mother needed anything, instead of being out in a park playing basketball, it was his joy to go out and do whatever he had to do to help her.

"That is what made him such a beautiful young man."

Before his son's death, the elder Kennon said he felt sorry for families of soldiers killed in Iraq but never thought it would happen to his son - the same way most people don't worry when they drive their cars.

"In your mind's eye, it is not going to happen to you. No one is going to run a red light or hit me in the rear or carjack my car," he said. "You have a level of comfort, and that is how I felt about him, that no matter where he goes, he will be safe.

"I must have carried that thought too far."

Kennon, an over-the-road truck driver for Kroger, had just arrived home from work Friday when two Army officers knocked on his front door. At first he thought they were soliciting donations.

The officers told Kennon his son had died but did not suffer. "That in a sense is comforting," he said.

The younger Kennon's death is not the first tragedy for his family. In 2000, his older brother, Marcus Kennon, was slain and his body dumped in Birmingham, Ala.

And in 1975, the elder Kennon's brother, Isaac Kennon, was killed when a burglar broke into his home. No arrests were made in either case.


Sgt. Robert Woodward 101st Airborne Division Journalist

MOSUL, Iraq-Dark clouds obscured but did not hide the sun, whose radiance imparted to them a proverbial silver lining. Hundreds of birds flew in great v-shaped formations across the sky. Beneath them, American and unit flags fluttered in a light breeze. So did the ID tags of Staff Sgt. Morgan D. Kennon as they dangled from the grip of his rifle, beneath his helmet and above his boots.

Arrayed before the display were his fellow soldier-comrades of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, and a host of leaders from across the 101st Airborne Division. They came to remember the decorated noncommissioned officer who died five days earlier, on Nov. 7, after his convoy came under attack on its way to relieve soldiers at an observation post in Mosul.

Kennon, 23, joined the Army in 1998 as a nuclear, biological and chemical specialist. He served at Fort Hood, Texas, with the 44th Chemical Recon Company before reporting to the 101st at Fort Campbell, Ky., in February. Just in time to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We as a company have lost our best soldier and best friend," said Capt. Steven J. Toth, Kennon's company commander. "Not only was he a good person, but he was the most kind, determined, moral, and noble man I have had the honor to work beside."

Not long before he died, Kennon wrote poems, unfinished and untitled, that expressed his character perhaps better than anything else.

"The night is so cold, so cold that I tremble and shake," he wrote. "I have somehow lost my place, but I will continue to wait. For I don't know what may soon come, but my heart tells me that I shall soon be warm."

In another poem he wrote:

"My destiny shall stay within the wishes of the all-knowing,

But my effort will stand strong.

My fears will stay buried,

While my bravery lives on."

Kiowa Warrior helicopters flew over treetops in the distance, on patrol, carrying on the mission. A rifle salute shocked the air and sent thousands of birds in motion, like ticker-tape and confetti in a storm. A ray of light shone through the clouds on the memorial, and vanished.