“Good luck, God’s speed, thanks for the prayers. I look forward to seeing you all again when I come home.” – Sgt. Adam P. Kennedy 4/5/07
This was the last time most of those close to Adam heard from him while serving on his first and last tour of duty in Iraq. Adam was a Sgt. in the United States Army, a member of the 4th brigade combat team of the 25th infantry division which was based in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Adam was a proud American soldier.
Born October 24th, 1981, to parents Nancy Smyth and David Kennedy, Adam was a shining angel. His smile hit the hearts of so many people over the next 25 years of his life. Not to say Adam was always perfect. He could definitely be a little devilish when he wanted to, especially when it came to his little brother Colin. Needless to say, ever since he was a little boy he had some type of uniform on, and they were usually fatigues. He was meant to serve our country.
As a cub scout he learned the basics of survival. As a member of the football, wrestling, weight lifting, and track teams at Xaverian High School he learned physical conditioning, leadership, stamina, and how to work together as a group. He also grew in faith as a religious mentor and through community service during his personal time.
After graduating in 2000 from Xaverian it was no surprise that Adam chose to attend Norwich University, in Northfield, VT. A higher level of discipline and commitment, Adam’s sense of duty shined through his years at Norwich as a member of the Corps of Cadets. He guided younger students in their training as he always felt the need to help others. These peers elected him to the honor committee as they saw his code of conduct for what it was worth. He studied computer science, enjoyed rock climbing, and also became a member of the Mountain Cold Weather Rescue Team while at the university.
Adam went into training for the United States Army immediately upon graduation. He became the distinguished honor graduate of his basic training and AIT (advanced individual training). He ranked #1 out of a class of 275 men and women. He also received honors in physical fitness and marksmanship. His platoon sergeant jokingly said that with Adam around he could have stayed home as Adam truly led the company.
After Airborne School he had to report to Fort Richardson, AK. He was quickly recognized for his leadership and reliability and began serving as the Colonel’s driver and then as his PSD (personal security detail). While in Alaska he also ran a marathon without any formal training.
Adam left for Iraq in the fall of 2006. He was pretty good at keeping in touch and letting us all know he was doing well. He continued as the PSD for the Colonel and came under direct attack 4 times in that position. On December 20th though, Adam did not take that seat next to the Colonel and his fellow Sgt. was killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) that day.
We were lucky to have Adam home for the holidays after that, luckier than we even knew but Adam was not himself. The war was different for him now and despite it all he had committed another 6 years just before he came home for this short but blessed break. He went back to serving his country, continued to keep everyone updated, and then the unthinkable knock at the door came on Easter Sunday April 8, 2007. Adam’s family was informed that he was killed by an IED while in his Humvee in Diwaniyah, 25 miles south of Baghdad. He was the 51st member of the armed forces from Massachusetts to be killed in Iraq.
He died doing what he wanted to do and he lived his childhood dream.
Honor, Courage, Determination, Humor, Friendship, and Faith, but most importantly a Hero.
These are the characteristics and qualities of Sgt. Adam P. Kennedy and they continue to be displayed by the memorial stone placed at the corner of Union and Grove Streets in his hometown of Norfolk, MA as well as by everyone who knew him.
As they say at Norwich, “I will try.” This goes for all those with Adam’s memories in their minds. All we can do is try: try to do the right thing, try to keep Adam a part of us, and try to make him proud of us.
And as Adam always said, “Stay the course.” And we believe that we are, by continuing what he believed in with this scholarship fund: A fund for all those that follow in his footsteps with a code of honor to serve, a sense of duty, and discipline like no other.