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Marine Sgt. Jeffrey L. Kirk

Died December 12, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Baton Rouge, La.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed Dec. 12 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.

Baton Rouge Marine killed in Iraq

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — A Baton Rouge Marine killed in Iraq had already been wounded in the line of duty once and had asked to be sent back, family members said.

When Jeffrey Lynn Kirk was considering joining the Marine Corps as a student McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, his mother warned him of the possibility of dying in combat. His reply was “’At least I would die doing what I wanted to do with my life,”’ Lisa Kirk of Abita Springs said.

Kirk, 24, was killed Sunday by enemy fire in Anbar province, Iraq.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. This was Kirk’s second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the Department of Defense.

Lisa Kirk said although her son, whose interests included art and poetry, was an honor graduate and participated in the gifted program at McKinley, he had planned to enter the military even before graduation.

“He wanted to be in the military. He wanted to be a Marine,” she said.

Kirk rose through the ranks to become a platoon sergeant in the Marines’ Special Forces anti-terrorism security team, known as Fast Company, said Kirk’s father, Peter. During his six-year military career, Kirk was awarded the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal, according to the Marine Corps.

When it came time to re-enlist, Kirk was set to become a pistol instructor at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, however, he requested a transfer to an infantry unit to serve in Iraq, his father said.

“He felt like if he didn’t do this he would look back on his life as this was something he should have done,” Peter Kirk said.

Kirk was shot in the thigh in a November firefight; he was to receive a medal for valor in combat, his father said. After he recovered, Kirk requested to be put back in action. Although his enlistment was to expire this month, he chose to extend it to stay with his men, Lisa Kirk said.

“He was truly dedicated to what he was doing,” she said.

After returning from his first deployment in Iraq, Kirk married “the love of his life” Carly Furr, of Baker, in September 2003, Lisa Kirk said. She said Kirk’s wife, who resides in California, heads a volunteer group which supports the families of Marines deployed overseas, has attended funerals of Marines killed in action and written letters of condolence to their families.

Upon release of Kirk’s body, his family, including his 10-year-old brother Benjamin, will hold services for him. Burial will be at Port Hudson National Cemetery in Zachary, his mother said.

Baton Rouge Marine remembered as hero

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — At 16, Marine Sgt. T.J. Palmer didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, but his best friend, Sgt. Jeffrey Lynn Kirk, had grown up wanting to join the Marine Corps and encouraged him to do the same.

“He told me about the Marine Corps,” Palmer said. “Everything that’s important to me came from him.”

At Kirk’s funeral Tuesday, Palmer also remembered a favorite quote from the late President Reagan that the two men sometimes included on correspondence to each other: “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

Family and friends gathered at Florida Boulevard Baptist Church to remember Kirk’s life — his coffin positioned in the center of the church near the altar, draped with an American flag and bathed in bright light. Kirk’s family, including his widow, Carly, sat in the front center pews of the sanctuary with rows of Marines sectioned on either side.

Palmer said that when he argues with his wife, he will remember Kirk’s love for Carly, and when he lacks the physical strength to accomplish a particular task, he will find it because of Kirk’s example.

Master Sgt. Forrester Goodrich, who helped recruit Kirk into the Marines in high school, said he hopes his sons will share many of the qualities Kirk possessed.

“I pray that my sons will grow up to be half the man,” Goodrich said.

The Rev. Louis Boyd, an associate pastor at Florida Boulevard Baptist Church who conducted the memorial service, said Kirk’s great sense of humor should be embraced. Kirk loved to listen to music by Lynyrd Skynyrd, so the memorial began with the congregation listening to one of Skynyrd’s tunes, “Simple Man.” Kirk’s favorite movie was “Tombstone,” Boyd said, and so he showed a clip. Boyd said Kirk also personified the values that he had tattooed on his body: honor, courage, intensity and fierce bravery.

When Kirk’s mother, Lisa Kirk, warned him that he could die in combat if he enlisted in the armed forces, the young man told her if it happened, he would die doing what he wanted to do with his life.

Kirk, 24, was killed Dec. 12, during security and stabilization operations in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. It was his second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“He put his life on the line for someone else and that’s why we’re here today,” Boyd said. “How long does a road have to be before a road is really notable? How many years do you have to live to make an impact in the world? ...

“In 24 years, somehow he had an impact in your life.”

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