Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey
Died: November 13, 2004

23, of Monroe, Conn.; assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed Nov. 13 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.

Marine's Sacrifice Saved His Comrades
By Lila de Tantillo


Courtesy of the Washington Post
Thursday, June 30, 2005

As the coffin of Corporal Kevin J. Dempsey was lifted from the hearse and carried toward its final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, dozens of Marines raised their right hands in a salute, a final gesture of respect for a man who had given his life to save his comrades.

On November 13, 2004, Dempsey, 23, had been the team leader of a Marine foot patrol in Iraq's Anbar province. When the troops discovered an improvised mine -- a buried bomb attached to a cell phone -- Dempsey took charge of clearing the other Marines from the scene, according to First Sergeant William S. McCoy of the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

He saved at least seven of his comrades before an enemy detonated the bomb,

killing Dempsey and another Marine.

"Whoever did it was watching when it happened," McCoy said.

Dempsey -- better known as "Jack" because he possessed the same toughness as the legendary boxer -- was assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Most recently, he had hailed from Monroe, Connecticut, where his mother, Barbara, and sister Jennifer live. He was a graduate of New Canaan High School, a football star who told friends and family of his dream of joining the Marines.

"He wasn't afraid of anything," said Pete Barrella, a school security guard who often chatted with Dempsey. Barrella said he paid special attention to Dempsey, knowing he had overcome the hardship of his father's death at a young age. "He was a tough kid, a quiet kid," he said.

Although Barrella had told Dempsey that he would make a good Marine, the security guard did a double-take when Dempsey strode up to him last year in his Marine uniform. Gone was the adolescent in baggy pants he had once known; in his place was a man with a firm handshake and an assignment to fight in Iraq.

His was the sacrifice of a man who had a history of serving as a protector of those around him. As a child, Dempsey was quick to defend children who were being bullied and rescue stray animals, those who knew him said.

Monroe Mayor Andrew J. Nunn said that after Dempsey's death,

There was an outpouring of recognition and support in the town. Some residents made meals for Dempsey's family; others donated to charities in his name. The local Red Cross honored him with a hero's award.

Hundreds of his classmates and friends turned out for his funeral at St. Catherine of Sienna in Greenwich, Connecticut, and he was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery nearby.

But on Tuesday, his coffin was disinterred and brought to Arlington, so that he could receive a military funeral and be buried alongside thousands of other war heroes. His grave is near that of another Marine who died in Iraq the same day, in another incident, McCoy said.

After the service, each of the Marines and other service members in attendance approached the coffin. One by one, they bid a final farewell to their comrade.

"It's meaningful that he is coming to Arlington," said Representative Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), who visited Dempsey's family after his death. "He was very proud of being in the Marines."

Note: Corporal Dempsey was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 60, Grave 8195) on Wednesday 29 June 2005.

Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey
Marine Known As 'Jack' To All


By JESSE HAMILTON | Courant Staff Writer


1:01 PM EST, November 16, 2004

Marine Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey of Monroe died Nov. 13, 2004, in an explosion in Al Anbar Province in Iraq. Dempsey, a graduate of New Canaan High School, was in the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, attached to the II Marine Expeditionary Force. He was 23.

To the Marine Corps, he was Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey of Monroe, Conn. To a lot of people in the state that now mourns his death, he was Jack.

Jack the wrestler. Jack the football player. Jack the New Canaan High School graduate. Jack, who enlisted with the Marines not long after 9/11.

Kevin "Jack" Dempsey, 23, died Saturday in an explosion in Al Anbar Province in Iraq - the latest in a list of troops killed this month in that province, where the U.S. has been waging an all-out assault on the remaining insurgents in Fallujah. The Department of Defense says at least 38 U.S. troops have died and almost 300 have been wounded in the occupation of the city west of Baghdad.

Dempsey was in the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, attached to the II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The day after Dempsey died, Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the war, spoke with troops in Fallujah, saying that the city was under control. He said the last few pockets of insurgents were being pursued, and they would be knocked out to the last man.

That brand of tough dialogue matches the tough, dedicated Marine that friends describe Dempsey as being.

"He just loved the Marines to death," said Wayne Hildebrand, a friend who wrestled on the same team as Dempsey, the New Canaan Rams.

Both Dempsey and Hildebrand joined the service after high school; Hildebrand joined the Army. "He loved what he was doing, and I guess that's what matters."

The two talked on the phone before Dempsey went to Iraq. "He was kind of pumped about it," Hildebrand said. "I wished him good luck and to come back safely. Unfortunately, it didn't all work out that way."

Over the weekend, Marines took the news of his death to his mother, Barbara Dempsey, who lives in Monroe. She is making arrangements for her son's remains, which may arrive today at an Air Force base in Dover, Md., said 1st Sgt. William McCoy at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center in New Haven.

"Right now, she's still in shock," McCoy said of Dempsey's mother. "We're trying to make it as easy on her as possible."

Barbara Dempsey said Monday, "He was the love of our life. He had so much to offer the world. We're so very proud of him."

A Marine will escort the body from Maryland to Connecticut, McCoy said, marking the return home after what amounted to less than three months in the war for Dempsey. McCoy said Dempsey had just finished a short duty in Haiti and was sent to Iraq in September.

Before Dempsey left, he hung out with Connecticut friends, including Jennifer Carafa. She knew he was going to war, but she wasn't concerned.

"The way he talked to me, I wasn't worried at all," she said. She described him as a big-brother type, an older protector. Monday night, she was on her way to Monroe, to gather with Dempsey's family and friends.

Their mourning was reflected across the state Monday.

"We did a moment of silence for him," said Tony Pavia, principal of New Canaan High School. He thinks the school will likely start a scholarship or award in his name. "We want to make sure that we remember him."

Gov. M. Jodi Rell called for flags to fly at half-staff until he is buried. "All of Connecticut joins me in honoring his service to our nation," she said in a statement.

And U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, the congressman from Dempsey's district, visited Barbara Dempsey, his staff said. Shays said in a statement: "We grieve with Cpl. Dempsey's family."

Paul Gallo, who coached Dempsey in wrestling until his 2000 graduation,

remembered him as a serious kid, the kind an adult could sit down and talk to. Dempsey's father had died young. Dempsey seemed to have been left with a sharp focus and a hardened will.

With only a couple of years of wrestling, he wasn't the most technically adept, Gallo said. But the 189-pound wrestler was tough. "He just went out there and tried to destroy his opponent," he said. "You were scared walking out against him."

"He was a fighter his whole life," Gallo said. "He wasn't afraid of anything."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

In Loving Memory to Cpl. Kevin "Jack" Dempsey

As the coffin of Corporal Kevin J. Dempsey was lifted from the hearse and carried toward its final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, dozens of Marines raised their right hands in a salute, a final gesture of respect for a man who had given his life to save his comrades. On November 13, 2004, Dempsey, 23, had been the team leader of a Marine foot patrol in Iraq's Anbar province. When the troops discovered an improvised mine -- a buried bomb attached to a cell phone -- Dempsey took charge of clearing the other Marines from the scene, according to First Sergeant William S. McCoy of the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center in New Haven, Connecticut. He saved at least seven of his comrades before an enemy detonated the bomb, killing Dempsey and another Marine. "Whoever did it was watching when it happened," McCoy said.

Dempsey -- better known as "Jack" because he possessed the same toughness as the legendary boxer -- was assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Most recently, he had hailed from Monroe, Connecticut, where his mother, Barbara, and sister Jennifer live. He was a graduate of New Canaan High School, a football star who told friends and family of his dream of joining the Marines.

"He wasn't afraid of anything," said Pete Barrella, a school security guard who often chatted with Dempsey. Barrella said he paid special attention to Dempsey, knowing he had overcome the hardship of his father's death at a young age. "He was a tough kid, a quiet kid," he said.

Although Barrella had told Dempsey that he would make a good Marine, the security guard did a double-take when Dempsey strode up to him last year in his Marine uniform. Gone was the adolescent in baggy pants he had once known; in his place was a man with a firm handshake and an assignment to fight in Iraq.

His was the sacrifice of a man who had a history of serving as a protector of those around him. As a child, Dempsey was quick to defend children who were being bullied and rescue stray animals, those who knew him said.

Monroe Mayor Andrew J. Nunn said that after Dempsey's death, there was an outpouring of recognition and support in the town. Some residents made meals for Dempsey's family; others donated to charities in his name. The local Red Cross honored him with a hero's award.

Hundreds of his classmates and friends turned out for his funeral at St. Catherine of Sienna in Greenwich, Connecticut, and he was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery nearby.

But on Tuesday, his coffin was disinterred and brought to Arlington, so that he could receive a military funeral and be buried alongside thousands of other war heroes. His grave is near that of another Marine who died in Iraq the same day, in another incident, McCoy said.

After the service, each of the Marines and other service members in attendance approached the coffin. One by one, they bid a final farewell to their comrade.

"It's meaningful that he is coming to Arlington," said Representative Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), who visited Dempsey's family after his death. "He was very proud of being in the Marines."

To the Marine Corps, he was Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey of Monroe, Conn. To a lot of people in the state that now mourns his death, he was Jack.

Jack the wrestler. Jack the football player. Jack the New Canaan High School graduate. Jack, who enlisted with the Marines not long after 9/11.

Kevin "Jack" Dempsey, 23, died Saturday in an explosion in Al Anbar Province in Iraq - the latest in a list of troops killed this month in that province, where the U.S. has been waging an all-out assault on the remaining insurgents in Fallujah.

The Department of Defense says at least 38 U.S. troops have died and almost 300 have been wounded in the occupation of the city west of Baghdad.

Dempsey was in the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, attached to the II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The day after Dempsey died, Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the war, spoke with troops in Fallujah, saying that the city was under control. He said the last few pockets of insurgents were being pursued, and they would be knocked out to the last man.

That brand of tough dialogue matches the tough, dedicated Marine that friends describe Dempsey as being.

Following is a quote from a letter from Barbara Dempsey, the very proud Mother of Jack Dempsey: "He always stood up and fought for the underdog - literally, whether it was a playground, a schoolyard or a street corner. He was there to protect and do what was needed and right. He continues to be a beacon in my life."

The members of CAPS are also proud of Jack Dempsey and honored to have the privilege to pay homage to this fine young man who respected all of God's creatures, always doing whatever he could to help homeless animals. We honor Jack for his sacrifice for our freedom and ask God's blessings to be with his mother and sister.

"Through this perpetual memorial honoring Cpl Kevin "Jack" Dempsey, CAPS is assisted in providing immediate medical care to help needy animals. The members of CAPS greatly appreciate this thoughtful tribute to a hero who fought not only for the liberty of the Iraqi people and the safety of our nation but also for the welfare of all animals."

 

Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey, U.S.M.C. (KIA)

Marine's Death Hits Home
Editorial
(reprinted from GreenwichCitizen.com, December 3, 2004)

Friday, December 03, 2004 - Christopher Falvo will never forget his first assignment for the Greenwich Citizen. The 23-year-old reporter, in just his third day on the job, covered the funeral of Cpl. Kevin John Dempsey, USMC at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Riverside. That Falvo is the same age as the deceased only served to underscore the fragility and vicissitudes of life. Dempsey, who was known as "Jack" to his family and many friends, was killed in action in Iraq on Nov. 13. He died in an explosion in Al Anbar province, which includes Fallujah, where coalition forces unleashed a major offensive last week. He was the 17th military person from Connecticut to be killed since the war on terror began in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dempsey's death hit closest to home. He spent many of his formative years in this community, graduating from Greenwich Catholic Elementary School and serving as an altar boy at St. Catherine's. An athlete who excelled in wrestling and football, he went on to compete in both sports at New Canaan High School, where he graduated in 2000. The principal at Greenwich Catholic School, Genevieve Madonna,

remembered Dempsey as a "fine young man who really responded to people who cared about him. He was sensitive and well-liked, and he enjoyed his sports. He had great relationships with many of his teachers.

"This is," she said, "quite difficult for all of us." From all accounts, Jack Dempsey was an outstanding young man, a caring person who aspired to become a state trooper after he completed his service with the Marines. Teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and others whose lives he touched spoke of Dempsey in glowing terms. The football coach at New Canaan High School, Lou Marinelli, described him as "tough," but as someone who "cared about his teammates and was unselfish."

Dempsey was a starting linebacker and defensive lineman on the Rams team as a senior.

Frank Tatto, a guidance counselor at the school, who first met Dempsey when he was coaching the sixth-grade basketball team at Greenwich Catholic, remembered the Marine as somebody with "a big heart." "It was in his nature to go out of his way to make you feel comfortable," Tatto said. "He always had a lot of energy, always willing to please. I always thought he had a lot to offer. I could see Jack being a mayor or elected to (some other) public office someday." Wars affect the lives of all of us in many ways, but nothing hurts more when somebody we love and care about is lost.

The Greenwich Citizen and the other Brooks Community Newspapers extend their deepest sympathies to his mother, Barbara Dempsey, his sister, Jennifer, and all the friends and comrades of Cpl. Kevin J. "Jack" Dempsey, USMC.

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