Army Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II

Army Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II

Died January 27, 2004 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom

27, of Zanesville, Ohio; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed Jan. 27 in an improvised explosive device attack near Iskandariyah, Iraq.
Ohioan killed in Iraq ‘always wanted to be a soldier’
Associated Press

CLEVELAND — An Ohio soldier killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded west of Baghdad “always wanted to be a soldier,” his mother said. “We were so very, very, very proud of him,” said Barbara Lloyd, mother of Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II, 27, of Zanesville. “From the time he was 8 years old, he always wanted to be a soldier,” Lloyd told The Plain Dealer by telephone from her Zanesville home. Kinney, a paratrooper with the 2nd Battalion of the 505th Infantry based at Fort Bragg, N.C., was a career soldier who had been in the Army more than seven years. Kinney played baseball at John Glenn High School in New Concord in east-central Ohio. He graduated in 1994. Lloyd said her son, known as “Buddy,” enjoyed Halloween pranks, classic cars, outdoor cooking, snowboarding and Johnny Cash music. He was killed Jan. 27 near Iskandariyah. Second Lt. Luke S. James, 24, of Oklahoma, and Sgt. Cory R. Mracek, 26, of Hay Springs, Neb., also were killed, the Pentagon said. The soldiers were part of Joint Task Force Seven supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, the military said. Another Fort Bragg paratrooper was critically wounded in the attack on the 82nd Airborne Division convoy, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmit, deputy chief of operations. A rescue force that rushed to the scene came under small arms fire, but suffered no casualties. Ohioan killed in Iraq was supportive big brother and mentor ZANESVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio soldier killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded west of Baghdad loved helping people trying to escape tyranny, his half-brother said Friday. “When we did talk about it, he was proud of what the United States was doing for Afghanistan and Iraq, trying to get them out of tyranny,” said Army Spc Kurtis Wayne Bennett, 22, half-brother of Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II, 27, of Zanesville. Kinney was killed Tuesday near Iskandariyah along with 2nd Lt. Luke S. James, 24, of Oklahoma, and Sgt. Cory R. Mracek, 26, of Hay Springs, Neb., the Pentagon said. Kinney had served eight months in Afghanistan before he was sent to Iraq last year with his unit, part of the 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg, N.C. “He was proud to be part of it, especially proud of his unit,” said Bennett, who returned from Fort Lewis, Wash., when he heard about Kinney’s death. “He was very proud to be there and helping people. That’s one thing he loved doing is helping. That was him.” Kinney had made 58 parachute jumps and hoped to train as a helicopter pilot and become a warrant officer after his 60th jump, a benchmark for paratrooper service, Bennett said. Bennett’s father, who was Kinney’s stepfather, died when Bennett was 12 and Kinney was 17. “He was just graduating high school and my father died his senior year,” Bennett said. “He just really took after me and kind of became my role model and I wanted to be just like him.” Bennett followed Kinney into the Army and the two talked weekly as Bennett hustled through basic training at Fort Knox, Ky.
“He coached me through basic training and all that. You don’t get many phone calls during basic. You get like one day a week to make phone calls and I always called him,” Bennett said.
“He always told me, ‘Don’t worry. They’re not yelling at you directly. It’s just mind games.’ He always told me I could do it.” Kinney, assigned to the 82nd Airborne’s 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry, was a career soldier who had been in the Army more than seven years. Kinney played baseball at John Glenn High School in New Concord in east-central Ohio. He graduated in 1994.
The soldiers killed in the attack were part of Joint Task Force Seven supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, the military said. Another Fort Bragg paratrooper was critically wounded in the attack on the 82nd Airborne Division convoy, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmit, deputy chief of operations. A rescue force that rushed to the scene came under small arms fire but suffered no casualties.
— Associated Press
Soldier killed in Iraq remembered in service
Associated Press
Family and friends gathered in southeast Ohio Feb. 7 for a memorial service for Army Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II, 27, who was killed on Jan. 27 when a roadside bomb exploded west of Baghdad. About 150 people attended a memorial service for Kinney at the United Methodist Church in South Zanesville, about 50 miles east of Columbus, where family and friends read scripture and a bluegrass recording played on church speakers. U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, consoled the family, including Kinney’s wife, Marisa. At the front of the church, a display of photos of Kinney stood, surrounded by red, white and pink carnations and American flags.
Kinney’s step-uncle, Jim Perdue talked about the sacrifice Kinney made. “I wish we didn’t have to have heroes, but we do,” Perdue told the gathering. Perdue said after the service that everything from the readings to the bluegrass music was what Kinney would have wanted. Perdue said despite their loss, the family was proud of him. “Whether he was cutting the lawn or skiing or snowboarding, Buddy did everything a hundred-plus percent,” Perdue said. “He did everything to the fullest.”

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