Soldier Honored: Kirk A. Owen
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Army Staff Sergeant Kirk Owen, 37, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma was assigned to 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oklahoma Army National Guard and served during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. On August 2, 2011, SSG Owen was leading his men on a mission of mine sweeping in the Lajah district, Paktya province of Afghanistan. He was in the front passenger seat of a Route Control Package sweeper unit when his unit ran over an IED. The bomb exploded, fatally wounding him.
SSG Owen joined the Army National Guard at the age of 31 and served as a chaplain’s assistant in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He also served a yearlong deployment in Iraq from 2007-2008. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation medal, Army Achievement medal, Army Good Conduct medal, National Defense Service medal, and Afghanistan Campaign medal for his service and sacrifice.
SSG Owen believed that his position in the military was a God-given calling on his life. “He was an outstanding non-commissioned officer, dedicated to loyally serving his country and fellow soldiers,” said MG Myles Deering, Adjutant General for Oklahoma. “It was just who he was,” his daughter said. “Being a soldier, it brought out the best in him. Which is why, to me, it feels like that’s where he was supposed to be. I couldn’t see him doing anything else.”
SSG Owen’s daughters are Folds of Honor Scholarship recipients