Livingston Parrish, Louisiana, US
Livingston Parrish, US, 12/06/1996
Specialist Levi Kinchen learned the meaning of toughness and perseverance long before he left to fight in Iraq.
In 1996 Kinchen’s only sibling, his older brother Arn, died in a car accident. Kinchen had idolized his brother and especially enjoyed their frequent deer-hunting outings, family members said. Although devastated along with the rest of his family, Kinchen remained strong and shouldered enough responsibility to help everyone move ahead, said his mother, Barbara.
“He was the one who took care of us,” she said.
Kinchen, 21, of Albany, La., died Aug. 9 in Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense. A fellow soldier who tried to wake him in the morning noticed he had stopped breathing. Kinchen was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment based out of Ft. Polk, La.
His family remains shocked and confused over his death, calling Kinchen a healthy 21-year-old who never had been ill in his life.
When Kinchen decided to join the armed forces after graduating from Albany High School in 2000, he became the latest member of his family to serve his country. His father, Carter, and his three uncles were in the Navy, and one of Kinchen’s grandfathers served in the Korean War.
Born in Hammond, La., and raised in Albany, Kinchen played baseball, belonged to a Boy Scout troop and was known as a class clown. He told his mother he was interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement after a four-year stint with the Army. A spiritual man, he was baptized before leaving for Iraq at the end of April.
“When he made the decision to join the Army and go to Iraq, we put him in God’s hands,” his mother said.