Fallen Marine ID’d

The Pentagon has identified a second Kaneohe Marine killed in combat in Afghanistan on Sunday as Lance Cpl. Nicholas C. Kirven.


Nicholas C. Kirven: He was a caring man who "loved his family more than anything"

Kirven and fellow Kaneohe Marine Cpl. Richard P. Schoener, 22, were killed as their squad was clearing a cave of suspected insurgents in eastern Afghanistan. They are the first Kaneohe Marines to die in Afghanistan.

They were infantry riflemen assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which was attached to Combined Joint Task Force-76 in Afghanistan.

Kirven, 21, the squad leader, and Schoener were killed in a five-hour battle with insurgents who were holed up in a cave. Both were supposed to have come home in 30 days.

Michael Belle, Kirven's stepfather, told a Fairfax, Va., TV station, "We knew as soon as we opened the door the purpose of the visit. We saw the Navy chaplain."

Kirven's family said he loved the Marines and helping needy children in a violent country.

They said Kirven understood his family missed him so he set up a Web site with pictures and messages about his tour of duty.

Relatives said he had a big heart and an engaging personality.

Kirven's mother, Beth Belle, said, "Nicholas was the most warm, kind, loving son. He loved his family more than anything in the world."

Sunday's battle began when a Marine unit checked out a tip about insurgents operating in Laghman, an opium-producing area 60 miles east of the capital, Kabul. The military said insurgents were killed in a five-hour battle in Alisang in eastern Afghanistan.

Kirven, a native of Richmond, Va., enlisted in the Marine Corps on Dec. 13, 2001, and reported to Kaneohe on March 26, 2003, before deploying to Afghanistan on Veterans Day last November.

His awards include the Navy unit commendation medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with second award.

He is survived by his parents.

Twenty-two soldiers, two sailors, 42 Marines and one civilian with Hawaii ties have been killed in Iraq since the war started on March 19, 2003. Thirteen of the soldiers were from the 25th Infantry Division based at Schofield Barracks. One soldier was killed in Kuwait last year.

Besides Schoener and Kirven, 15 soldiers from 25th Division have died in Afghanistan.

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