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Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Kevin R. Bewley

Died November 5, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

27, of Hector, Ark.; assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Oak Harbor, Wash.; died Nov. 5 of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was conducting operations in Bayji, Iraq.

Arkansan killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

OAK HARBOR, Wash. — A Whidbey Island Naval Air Station petty officer from Arkansas was the sixth member of a bomb disposal unit to be killed in Iraq.

Kevin Bewley, 27, of Hector, Ark., died Nov. 5 of wounds from a bomb that detonated in Sala ad Din province. He was on his second deployment to Iraq.

“He had a real good personality. He was always sympathetic to people,” his father, Ron Duke Bewley, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “You bet I was proud of him.”

Three sailors from the same unit were killed in April, and two were killed in July.

“It’s a big loss to this small family,” said Naval Air Station spokeswoman Kimberly Martin.

Kevin Bewley loved the outdoors. After his first tour in Iraq, he and his older brother, Patrick, camped in minus-28 degree Arctic weather to fulfill a promise they made to each other to try to see the Northern Lights.

“He didn’t need a lot around him to be happy — just friends and family and getting to be outside,” Patrick Bewley said.

Bewley’s mother, Connie Whitaker, said the death of her son was devastating.

“The needless loss of life of our American servicemen and women is something that we as a nation must stop now,” she told the newspaper. “My son was precious to me, but so are the lives of everyone who has died needlessly, been maimed or who will suffer the trauma and horror of this senseless war.”

Bewley had been with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, based in Oak Harbor, since August 2005. His brother said that other members of Unit 11 often would join them on their camping or road trips.

“It was a great group of guys. They were his family, too,” Patrick Bewley said.

Kevin Bewley was known for his calm demeanor under pressure.

“The world could be burning down around him and he’d be calm and collected,” said Patrick Bewley.

In a statement, Capt. Barry Coceano, commander of bomb disposal units in the Pacific fleet, said: “His death is a tremendous loss to his family, friends and the entire [explosive ordnance disposal] community. He was a warrior who was protecting the lives of his fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, as well as local Iraqi citizens.”

Bewley was divorced and leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.

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