My son, Gunnery Sgt Aaron Michael Kenfick, USMC, KIA September 8 2009, Afghanistan, Ganjgal Valley, Kunar Province.
Aaron was the son of Susan Price and Donald Kenefick. He was a brother to Jacquelyn and Jade, father to Landon Hope, Grandson, Nephew, Friend, Brother in Arms to so many from every arena of service.
Aaron was a “Noble Warrior,” yet first and foremost, Aaron was a child of God, and a light to the world. He knew at a young age that he wanted to serve his country, so he enlisted into the Marine delayed entry program at the beginning of his senior year of high school in 1996. In 1997, after graduation, he attended boot camp in Paris Island, S.C. where he would prepare for his adult career serving for over twelve years. It was to be his entire adult life’s career path, training and mentoring our American Legacy, making a difference professionally as well as spiritually in the hearts and minds of men and woman who crossed his path, hoping for the best, yet preparing for the worst during the security and protection of our country.
His name Aaron Michael, meaning “Rod of Truth,” and “Warrior Angel,” carried the vibrations of a more symbolic measure as he grew into himself as a protector for America, tragically, ending as an American Hero at the age of thirty and a half years old.
From a family member’s point of view the above information describes such a scant of detail about Aaron, yet through the eyes of the United States Marine Corps and brother in arms, Aaron would have the following information added to his profile: Provided security detail to three President’s, Marine of the year 1999, Distinguished Honor Graduate of Fort Benning U.S. Airborne School, NCO-IC Training and Airborne Operations (Special Operations Command Europe) throughout Africa, Operation Shining Express, U.S Central Command enlisted Aide to Deputy director of Strategic Plans and Policy and the SNCO IC for J-5 Directorate, hand selected as the personal attendee for George W. Bush at the Republican National Convention, SNCO IC of Operation Support Branch J-2X Division, Marine of the Year 2007, and yet that would still not describe in detail such a simple, yet complex American Hero....Aaron's tragedy is tied to two living Medal of Honor Recipients, Marine Sgt Dakota Meyer and Army Captain Will Swenson.
|Name of Award Bronze Star Medal|
|Year Awarded 2010|
Details behind Award: For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Advisor-Mentor, 1st Kandak, 2d Brigade, 201st Corps, Afghan National Army, Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 8 September 2009. Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick was a member of a combined Marine and Afghan patrol that led the way into Ganjgal village to visit with village elders. As the patrol entered the village it was ambushed. Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick took cover near a retaining wall and returned fire. When the team leader directed his Marines and the Afghan soldiers to attack and seize the house from which they were receiving fire, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick boldly led the Afghan soldiers forward under fire and cleared the house. The enemy then attempted to encircle the teams position while subjecting the team to a hail of machine gun and rocket fire. Despite being pinned down, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick returned fire and called in supporting artillery and mortar fire before falling mortally wounded. Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick fought with bravery and determination while demonstrating unwavering courage in the face of the enemy. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Summary of Action: Gunnery Sergeant Aaron M. Kenefick, United States Marine Corps, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroic wartime service in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 8 September 2009 as a Staff Noncommissioned Officer Advisor Mentor to 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps, Afghanistan National Army, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. At approximately 0500L, Embedded Training Team (ETT) 2-8 and 1st Kandak , 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps, Afghanistan National Army , together with Afghan Border Patrol and Coalition Forces moved through the Ganjgal Valley on a patrol to conduct a key leader engagement with village elders after sweeping the village of Ganjgal for weapons and suspected Anti-Afghan Forces (AAF). Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick was with the lead element of the patrol with Afghan soldiers and his team of advisors as it moved to the village. At 0530L, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick and the lead security element of the patrol came under a well prepared, complex ambush just outside the village by an enemy force estimated to consist of more than 80 insurgents. The enemy poured down effective fire from the top of a multi tiered agricultural terrace at a range of three hundred meters. Immediately, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick took cover near a retaining wall and returned fire with his M4 carbine. After taking the enemy positions under fire, another enemy force, fighting from a house on their flank, opened fire with automatic weapons from a distance of less than one hundred meters. The team leader directed the Marines and Afghan soldiers to attack across the fire swept ground in a desperate attempt to gain some cover in the house from which they were receiving fire. As Gunnery Sergeant Johnson suppressed the house, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick led the Afghan soldiers forward in an effort to take the building. After they gained entry and cleared the house, the group took fire from other nearby houses, this time with a combination of heavy PK machine gun (PKM) and sustained rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire. Meanwhile, the enemy began to move around their flanks in an attempt to cut them off from the rest of the patrol. After the team leader made the decision to fight their way out of the enemy encirclement, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick laid down a base of fire from the house to allow the others bound back toward the friendly forces on the west side of the town. The combined security element fought their way across one hundred and fifty meters of terrain while under intense enemy fire from three directions until taking cover in a small ditch. It was there that the team leader was mortally wounded after establishing a hasty defense. Without hesitation, Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick established radio communication and calmly began to request artillery and mortar fire while returning fire until he was mortally wounded by enemy machinegun fire. His actions allowed several Afghan soldiers to escape the fire fight, regain contact with the rest of the patrol, and to continue fighting through the rest of the engagement.
Editor's Note: This piece was submitted by Susan Price, GySgt Aaron Kenefick's mother. Please don't forget our heroes! You honor their deeds by remembering them. MsMarti