Screaming Eagles Through Time
CWO3 Kyran E. Kennedy


Boston, Massachussetts
Killed in action November 7, 2003

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy

Former Xaverian student dies in Iraq

By Eric Convey and Laurel J. Sweet / Boston Herald

Monday, November 10, 2003

Kyran Edward Kennedy made his mark in the military piloting helicopters in sometimes treacherous conditions, but in the tight-knit West Roxbury neighborhood where he grew up the fifth of 10 children he was remembered this weekend as a friendly and helpful kid.

The 43-year-old son of John Kevin and Geraldine "Gerry" Kennedy -- who also has ties to MetroWest -- was killed with five fellow soldiers Friday when the Black Hawk helicopter he was piloting crashed east of the Tigris River near Tikrit, Iraq.

"All of us are extremely proud of Kyran and he died doing the job he was sent to do. We love him and he will be dearly missed," his family said in a statement.

Kennedy once lived in Millis, and has family in Medway.

The crash also claimed the life of Sgt. Scott C. Rose, 30, who was listed by the military as a Massachusetts native whose hometown was unavailable.

No cause had been released as of last night.

On Robin Street in West Roxbury, news that the war in Iraq had struck a loved and revered family stunned neighbors.

"It's been an awful shock, we'll miss him," Mary Demopoulos said. "He was a loving and giving kid growing up... a tall handsome boy."

Kennedy, a chief warrant officer who enlisted in 1989, was with the 5th Combat Aviation Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

He and his wife, Kathleen (Barb) Kennedy, formerly of Saugus, lived in Hopkinsville, Ky., with their three children, Christopher, 11, Kaitlyn, 9, and Kevin, 3 1/2.

For his old neighborhood, the death of another soldier was an especially cruel blow. Neighbors said another family lost a daughter in a military aircraft crash several years ago. And a couple who live a few more houses down the street have a grandson fighting in Iraq.

Mrs. Demopoulos recalled recently seeing Kennedy and his wife helping to shingle his parents' stately victorian house. Moving deftly across the roof, she said, "they were joking and laughing as if they were walking a straight line on the street."

The Kennedy family, she added, "would do anything for you."

Paul Demopoulos remembered a young Kyran Kennedy shoveling snow from his driveway as a favor. One day, Mr. Demopoulos said, Kennedy saw him removing a medicine cabinet from his car and then, with little fanfare, installed it for him.

Neighbor Michael Lalicata said news of Kennedy's death came as a shock.

"They're a very nice family," he said. "They're very helpful around here."

The Kennedy family is active at St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Church in West Roxbury.

Kyran Kennedy was an altar boy there and graduated from Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood in 1978. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Another son, William, is an Archdiocese of Boston priest serving as a Navy chaplain.

"They have very strong faith and very strong values. There's not much you can say to them right now that they're not saying to each other," said the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

"They're trying to support Kyran's wife and children and support each other," Coyne said. "Obviously, they're in shock."

Kennedy's sister, Deirdre Kennedy, director of the Domestic Violence Project at Dorchester District Court, is a civilian employee of the Boston Police Department.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete last night. A single yellow ribbon is tied to a tree in front of the family house.

Also killed in Friday's crash were Capt. Joseph B. Smith, 29, a native of Monroe City, Mo. and Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff, 30, a native of South Carolina.

The other two helicopter passengers were not identified.

A fifth member of the 101st was killed in a seperate incident in Mosul when a convoy was ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was identified as Staff Sgt. Morgan D. Kennon, 23, a native of Memphis, Tenn.

101st remembers fallen Black Hawk crew

By PFC. THOMAS DAY U.S. Army 40th Public Affairs Detachment

QAYARRAH, Iraq The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) used Veterans Day to remember the four fallen "Screaming Eagles" of the Nov. 7 helicopter crash at a ceremony in Qayarrah.

Capt. Benedict J. Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff, and Staff Sgt. Scott C. Rose, all members of the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, were killed in a crash after an attack in Tikrit Friday. Their fellow aviators honored their sacrifices at the 101st Airborne's "Q-West" Airfield, under the shadows of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters the type of aircraft in which the crew took their final flight into hostile fire.

The crew of Black Hawk 26431, "The Goat," were remembered on Veteran's Day as four unique individuals but with a common love of their families and trust in their fellow soldiers.

"In the deadly chaos of battle, soldiers hold trust and when they fight, they fight for each other because of the trust that resides in one another," said Lt. Col. Laura Richardson, 5-101st Aviation commander. "The crew of aircraft 26431 had that trust."

Capt. Ben Smith

The son of two Missouri pig farmers, Smith was remembered for his adoration of his wife, his affinity for bacon and his inability to keep his desk organized.

"The funny thing was, you could ask him for a specific memo or paper and he would only have to move two or three sheets to come up with it," said Capt. Patrick Patrino, who delivered Smith's eulogy.

Patrino recalled an experience in breakfast chow hall line where his friend's family roots shined. After Patrino refused bacon from a chow hall server, Smith "proceeded to load his plate up with bacon and told the server, I'll have the bacon that he didn't get'."

Smith recently married Capt. Maggie J. (Bradley) Smith before both deployed to Kuwait before the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, she is with 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment.

CW3 Kyran Kennedy

Like another Democrat named Kennedy from Massachusetts, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kyran Kennedy knew the value of doing what you can do for your country, recalled his friend Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jimmy McElhaney.

Kennedy, a native Bostonian and resident of Hopkinsville, Ky., loved a political debate among friends, which the Republican McElhaney was happy to give him over a cup of morning coffee.

Kennedy was the crew's safety officer, a responsibility he never took lightly. "He always came up with a way to do it safely," said McElhaney during the ceremony. "He was never there to say, no, we can't do it.' He just came up with other, safer ways to do it."

Kennedy was in his 16th year in the Army when his helicopter went down Friday. He is survived by his wife Kathy and children Christopher, 11, Kaitlyn, 9, and Kevin, 3.

Staff Sgt. Paul Neff

"He left us doing what he loved to do: fly," said Sgt. First Class Jerardo Gamino. "If he were standing here today, he would tell his soldiers, get in that aircraft, fly, do your job."

Neff was an honest non-commissioned officer, remembered his friend. He loved the Army, having grown up in Columbia, South Carolina, just miles from the Army's Fort Andrew Jackson. "He performed his job in an efficient, professional manor," said Gamino.

Neff asked his girlfriend Sabrina Campbell to marry him before the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Kuwait. She said yes. Neff is survived by Sabrina and his seven-year-old son Christopher.

Staff Sgt. Scott Rose

Like his crew-mate Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Scott Rose was born in Boston. He is the son of a retired colonel and father of five-month old Megan, his first child with wife Michele. He had never meet Megan.

Sgt. Bradley Green remembered the day his friend celebrated the Megan's birth this past summer. "He came to me and asked me if I was as nervous as he was when my daughter was born. Of course I said yes, and we talked for hours about being a dad and how wonderful it will be when we go home."

Just before Rose flew his last mission, he told Green that he would soon be leaving the unit to teach Advanced Individual Training in Fort Eustis, Va. Green told his friend that he would miss him. Rose replied facetiously, "you're not going to get all weepy eyed on me?"

"Well Scott, you got me all weepy eyed now."