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Army Cpl. Ciara M. Durkin

Died September 28, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

30, of Quincy, Mass.; assigned to the 726th Finance Battalion, Massachusetts Army National Guard, West Newton, Mass.; died Sept. 28 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained from a non-combat-related incident.

Pentagon says Quincy soldier not killed in combat

The Associated Press

QUINCY, Mass. — The military says a 30-year-old soldier from Quincy who died last week in Afghanistan was not killed in combat.

The Department of Defense says Cpl. Ciara Durkin died Sept. 29 of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident at Bagram Airfield. The statement had no specifics and said the circumstances are under investigation.

Durkin was assigned to the 726th Finance Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

Durkin’s sister, Fiona Canavan, told The Boston Globe that military officials have told the family she was found shot in the head inside a secure area at the base. Canavan said her sister was near a church at about 6:30 p.m., after the fall of darkness.

“The family has been informed that she was in the compound, and she was shot in the head,” Canavan told the newspaper. “She was in a secure area of the compound, which, even though the investigation is not complete, leads the family to believe it was what is called friendly fire,” she said.

The National Guard had said Sept. 30 in a statement that Durkin was killed “in action” and that the incident was under investigation. A Guard spokesman, Maj. Jack McKenna, told the Globe that the term “in action” means “that she was killed in Afghanistan and she wasn’t killed at home.”

Canavan said her family was meeting with U.S. officials and also speaking with Irish officials about the investigation of the death of her sister, who was born in Ireland and moved to Massachusetts when she was 9 years old.

Canavan said the family’s Army liaison said it could take as long as eight weeks for the investigation to be completed.

Durkin was a 1996 graduate of Fontbonne Academy in Milton, and joined the Army National Guard in October 2005 after getting laid off from her information technology job at Fenway Health, her family told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy.

The family said Durkin was credited last April with helping save the life of a contractor who fell 26½ feet after slipping off a ladder in the building where she worked. Her duties included making sure the finances of soldiers were in order and that their families were getting benefits.

“She wanted to be somewhere where she could help,” Fiona Canavan told The Ledger. “She felt it was an important job.”

Soldier who died under suspicious circumstances remembered

The Associated Press

QUINCY, Mass. — A National Guard soldier from Quincy who died under suspicious circumstances in Afghanistan was buried with full military honors.

Specialist Ciara Durkin was remembered by Maj. General Joseph Carter, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, for the way she cared for fellow soldiers.

Carter also recalled her commitment to her mission. The service was held at St. John the Baptist Church in Quincy.

Durkin was found with a single gunshot wound to her head in a secure area of Bagram Airfield last month.

Her family initially complained that military officials told them she was killed “in action,” but then later said she died in a “non-combat related incident.”

But after meeting with Army investigators this week, they said they were reassured that the investigation was comprehensive. The family discounts the possibility of suicide.

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