PAXTON, IN, USA
SSG, CO B, 3D BN, 5TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, (SOCCENT), FORT CAMPBELL, KY
MUQDADIYAH, IRAQ 10/11/2005
A soldier from Indiana was killed in Iraq on Tuesday, the second member of the 5th Special Forces Group, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., to die in an attack there this week.
Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Kimmell, 30, of Paxton, was killed when a homemade bomb exploded near a military vehicle in which he was riding in Muqdadiyah, north of Baghdad, the Pentagon said yesterday.
Larry Kimmell, Matthew Kimmell’s father and a minister at Bible View Baptist Church in Paxton, said that Army personnel told him that two soldiers who were with his son were injured in the attack. Matthew Kimmell was a career soldier and had been serving in Iraq since June, his father said.
Kimmell lived at Fort Campbell with his wife before he deployed, said Paula Sterling, the postmaster of Paxton, about 25 miles south of Terre Haute. She said Kimmell’s mother, Jeanne, works at the post office.
The Kimmell family is devoutly religious, Sterling said.
On Tuesday, she said, people from the town came in when they learned the news and “just cried.”
Kimmell “was always just a bright, smiley kid,” Sterling said. “He had a little butch haircut, and I remember him and his brother riding their bikes and delivering the Sullivan County Times.”
Sterling said she will remember Kimmell as a man “who put God first, his family second and his country third.”
Residents of the town of about 500 plan to line the main street from the Kimmells’ home with American flags, Sterling said, and volunteers ordered a large banner that reads, “In Loving Memory of Our Hometown Hero.” They also plan to place a small memorial stone near the town’s center, she said.
“Matthew was always modest. He did not want a big deal made over him, so the stone will be small,” Sterling said. “We just wanted to let the family know how much we cared and we want to welcome him home.”
Between 1999 and 2001, Kimmell worked as a deputy for the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department in Southern Indiana. He was an exemplary officer, Sheriff Brad Elsworth said. Kimmell’s physical strength would have made him a poster child for a GI Joe character, Elsworth said.
“He was just professional at every turn,” the sheriff said. “He was the kind of guy that a law-enforcement leader scrambles to have in his agency.”
“If there ever was an all-American kid, it was Matt,” Elsworth said.