BATON ROUGE, LA, USA
SGT, K CO, 3D BN, 5TH MAR, RCT-1, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
FALLUJAH, IRAQ 12/12/2004
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.
At 16, Marine Sergeant T.J. Palmer didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, but his best friend, Sergeant 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.”