|From The Boston Globe boston.com
Fallen soldier recalled as a leader and good son
He was slain in Iraq by a roadside bomb
By David Abel, Globe Staff | April 10, 2007
Ever since he was a Cub Scout, Adam Kennedy liked to wear a uniform.
The Norfolk boy who often wore camouflage and later heaved more than 1,000 pounds as a prize-winning weight lifter became a 25-year-old sergeant in the Army who oversaw the security detail of the colonel commanding his brigade in Iraq.
On Sunday, while on a patrol about 25 miles southeast of Baghdad, a roadside bomb tore through his Humvee, making him one of the military's more than 3,267 dead in Iraq, his family said.
The news of Kennedy's death was received as relatives held a service in South Hadley yesterday for Specialist Christopher Wilson, who died in a bomb blast last week in Afghanistan, and as relatives mourned Army Ranger Captain Jonathan Grassbaugh of Hampstead, N.H., who also died last week in a roadside explosion in Iraq.
"He was a fantastic soldier and a wonderful son," J. David Kennedy said of his son in a telephone interview. "He was there for everyone. He was a real support for us. We miss him terribly."
Adam Kennedy attended Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, where the honor-roll student made a name for himself as a linebacker on the football team and a powerful weight lifter. He was also on the wrestling and track teams.
"We mourn the loss of Adam and place our hope in our faith," said a statement issued by Daniel E. Skala, Xaverian's headmaster. "We understand that our time on Earth is brief, and we are called to live each day to the full."
After graduating in 2000, Kennedy enrolled in the Corps of Cadets at Norwich University in Vermont, where he studied computer science.
When he graduated four years later, he tried to join the Marines but was rejected because of concussions he received while playing football in high school, his father said. Instead, he joined the Army and became the "distinguished honor" graduate of his bootcamp class, for his discipline and leadership skills.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound soldier also stood out for his physical fitness. "He was so physically fit, he once ran a marathon with no prior training," his father said.
He was eventually attached to the Army's Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Alaska before shipping out to Iraq in October. He was set to be there until next March.
In his six months in Iraq, his unit had been hit by mortars or roadside bombs as many as five times, his father said. In one of those attacks, another sergeant in his unit died when a roadside bomb destroyed the Humvee that Kennedy was supposed to be driving, his father said.
When he came home for Christmas, he was more subdued.
"I think he had a fair level of anxiety," his father said. "Their first day in country, they were subject to a mortar attack, and things went down hill from there. . . . But he saw this as his duty, and he was a truly brave soldier who just went ahead and did his job, even in the face of . . . all these attacks."
Lauren Smyth, Kennedy's first cousin, remembered ice skating and joking around when they were young. "Ever since he was a little kid, he had a uniform on," Smyth said. "If he was serious, you knew it. If he wanted to be goofy, he was the biggest goofball in the world. He was either stone-faced or sticking his tongue out."
She and other relatives gathered at the family's home yesterday. "He had so much life ahead of him," Smyth said. "He was an All-American who wanted to serve his country."
The military told the family -- he had two brothers and two sisters -- that it may be as long as a week before Kennedy's body is brought home.
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