PORTLAND, OR, USA U.S. Navy PO3, WPNS CO, 1ST BN, 6TH MAR, RCT-8, 2D MARDIV FALLUJAH, IRAQ 04/23/2005
Navy Medic Aaron Kent was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Aaron was a graduate of Roosevelt High School, and worked short-term jobs with Wacker Siltronic and the American Red Cross before signing up for the Navy in 2002. Following boot camp and hospital corpsman “A” school, he completed Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejeune in December. In January 2003, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He returned to Portland for a brief leave last winter after completing a tour in Afghanistan, then shipped off for Camp Baharia, two miles south of Fallujah.
As a Navy corpsman, Kent served as a battlefield emergency medical technician. The Marines he accompanied on patrol referred to him as “Doc.” He carried surgical tape and bandages, along with his M-16. Aaron died on April 23, 2005 from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Fallujah, Iraq.
His father, a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, said the date April 21 always held a strong meaning for him because that was the day he was wounded in Vietnam in 1968. “I never said anything to anybody about this, but in my mind and in my soul I just felt that if Aaron could get past the 21st, he’d be OK,” he said. “He died on the 23rd.” Kent’s mother, Lara Byrns, said that the poverty Kent saw in both countries distressed him, and he often went out of his way to treat village kids who had no access to health care. “He was very moral,” she said. “He loved Portland, and he loved his family. He was very proud of where he came from.” His parents said Kent always had a knack for making people laugh.