TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Relatives described a Special Forces soldier from Arizona who was among three Americans killed in Jordan last week as a funny man with a magnetic personality, while national lawmakers praised his service.
Flags in Arizona flew at half-staff Monday in honor of Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30. He was with a group of military trainers whose convoy came under fire last Friday as they entered a base in Jordan. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Missouri, and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas.
U.S. officials have said they are consulting with the Jordanian government to determine exactly what happened.
McEnroe was serving his third overseas tour. His mother, Linda Frost of Tucson, told the Arizona Daily Star newspaper that McEnroe decided to join the Army while going to college in Colorado.
“We don’t really have a military background,” she said. “He just said he wanted to make a difference and become a Green Beret.”
During his career, he received several awards, including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
McEnroe had a great sense of humor, his mother said.
“He was a little bit of a class clown in school,” Frost said. “When he walked into the room, he had this magnetism.”
McEnroe will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His family is planning a memorial service for January in Tucson.
U.S. Sen. John McCain and Rep. Martha McSally were among those to offer their condolences to McEnroe’s family.
“He put his life on the line for a higher purpose and sacrificed so that others would be kept safe,” McSally said in a statement. “Such a tragic loss is felt by our entire community, and he will be remembered and honored for his brave and selfless service.”
McEnroe was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the U.S. Defense Department.
Lewellen’s parents rembered their son as a “born leader” and “true American.”
Chuck and Cindy Lewellen said he wanted to be a soldier since the third grade and “was doing what he loved to do.”
The former Kirksville High School prom king and football and track standout attended Missouri’s Truman State University and was enrolled at the University of Kansas when he joined the Army in 2010. He most recently lived in Nashville, Tennessee.
Matthew Lewellen was on his second deployment to Jordan. He left the U.S. last month.
“He was proud to serve his country, and he loved the men and women with whom he served,” his parents said, adding that their son will be buried at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.
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