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Old 04-01-2007, 03:06 AM
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LCpl Nicholas Cain Kirven, USMC, 21, Richmond, VA (Afghanistan)

Arlington National Cemetery

Nicholas Cain Kirven
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps

Thursday, May 12, 2005
Fallen Marine was almost home
Courtsy of the Honolulu Advertiser
He was a young Kane'ohe Marine who told his stepfather in an e-mail three weeks ago that his dreams for life after the Corps included going off to college, perhaps as early as this fall.

The Marine from Richmond, Virginia, was ready now, he said, given the maturity and perspective he had gained from having served the past six months in Afghanistan.

But those dreams of college died with the dreamer, Lance Corporal Nicholas C. Kirven, 21, who was killed Sunday during a firefight with Afghan insurgents in the Alishang District of Laghman Province.

Family friend Cam McIntyre said Kirven was due to return home from Afghanistan in less than a month.

McIntyre said Kirven's stepfather, Michael Belle, and his mother, Beth, knew the worst had happened when they saw a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and Navy Chaplain approaching their front door in Fairfax, Virginia, about 9:30 Sunday night.

"He was one of the most wonderful 21-year-olds you're ever going to meet brave, caring, dedicated to the service and to what he was doing in Afghanistan, which included befriending many of the native people he met there," McIntyre said.

He sent his family an e-mail from the Afghanistan front almost every week, and most contained at least a mention of an Afghan national whom he had met or tried to help, McIntyre said.

The gunnery sergeant told his mother and stepfather that Kirven's unit had been involved in a long firefight about 60 miles east of Kabul, and had called in air strikes after chasing a group of insurgents into a cave. Kirven, the squad leader, and Corporal Richard Schoener, 22, of Hayes, Louisiana, were ambushed and killed when they entered the cave to see what had become of the insurgents, the Gunnery Sergeant said.

Kirven was an infantry rifleman assigned to Company K of the Kane'ohe-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which was attached to Combined Joint Task Force-7 while serving in Afghanistan. Schoener was assigned to the same unit.

Kirven enlisted in the Marine Corps December 13, 2001, and reported to his unit at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i in Kane'ohe on March 26, 2003. In addition to his mother, stepfather and father Leo Kirven, Nicholas Kirven is survived by sister Pride, 22, and brother Joseph, 14.

Funeral services are scheduled for Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, McIntyre said.
Marine Killed in Afghanistan 'Brought People Together'
Lance Corporal Planned Fairfax Homecoming in 30 Days
By Stephanie McCrummen
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The ceremonial end of Lance Corporal Nicholas Kirven's life was as soft and delicate as his death was hard and brutal, coming as it did on the mildest of spring days.

His funeral yesterday drew about 200 people to the green lawns of Arlington National Cemetery, including the sister he called Pridie, the brother he called Jobes, friends, high school basketball coaches, a U.S. senator, fellow Marines and the father of the comrade who carried Kirven's body out of a cave and down a mountainside in eastern Afghanistan two Sundays ago.

Kirven's unit had engaged in a firefight with insurgents that day, driving them into a cave in an area called Alishang. Aircraft were called in to bomb the cave, but when Kirven, the squad leader, and another Marine went inside afterward to assess the situation, they were ambushed. Their deaths were the 142nd and 143rd since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Kirven, a big-hearted and magnetic 21-year-old who was finally ready to go to college, recently had confided to his sister that he was exhausted and was headed home to Fair Oaks, in Fairfax County, in just 30 days. He was buried in grave 8180, section 60, of the cemetery, the area reserved for service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

About 1 p.m., the crowd followed his wooden coffin up a green slope to the designated spot. It was quiet except for the leaves blowing in the sprawling trees. White-gloved Marines lifted the coffin up before setting it down, then held the edges of the flag covering it, standing still while a priest offered the last few words.

"We pray our brother Nicholas will sleep here in peace," he said. "Lord, hear our prayer."

A line of Marines fired three shots into the blue sky. The bugler, standing apart, played taps, and Kirven's mother, Elizabeth Belle, and his father, Leo Kirven, received the folded flag.

These were the standard honors, said an Arlington spokeswoman, which, in the hierarchy of military death, include pallbearers, a firing party and a bugler, though not, she explained, the full band and horse-drawn caisson reserved for officers and top-ranking enlisted personnel, who receive full honors.

Leo Kirven did not know of full honors and standard honors, though; he just said the service was beautiful. He was somewhat surprised at the large crowd that showed up, people from New Jersey, Massachusetts and North Carolina and as far away as Hawaii; politicians such as Senator John W. Warner (R-Virginia) and others he did not know but who came and shook his hand and said kind things.

"I don't even know all the names," Kirven said afterward. "State senators from Richmond -- they all made a point of coming up and offering us condolences and sympathy. You saw how dignified it all was."

The crowd, he figured, was a reflection of who his son was, of the large numbers of people upon whom he managed to make an impression in a relatively short time.

"My son was the kind of person who, when he touched someone's life, they shined," Kirven said. "He was a bridge to other people. He always made people feel good and happy, and always brought people together. . . . I was very proud of him."
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/31/1984
DATE OF DEATH: 05/08/2005
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