Kimberly was born August 18, 1976 in Greenville, SC. We always called her our miracle baby…because by then we had been married for twelve years, and had almost given up hope of being parents.
When she was just a toddler, Kimberly seemed to fall down more than other children, and we were concerned…the pediatrician confirmed our worst fears that she needed corrective shoes and may never be able to run without falling. Overcoming this obstacle was only the first test…she later was diagnosed with scoliosis, then severe allergies. Any one of the above would have kept a less determined person down, but not our baby girl. She seemed to attack each health issue the same way she attacked every task she ever faced…full steam ahead!
Elementary school at Forest Acres and West End, then Easley Junior and Easley High School paved the way for one year at Furman University and three years at Presbyterian College. During those years she met and was influenced by many people, but she admired no one more than EHS Naval Junior ROTC commander, Captain Jim Franklin. His dedication, professionalism, passion for his job and compassion for his students inspired her and set an example that she held as a standard for the remainder of her life. With CPT Franklin nurturing her emerging leadership abilities, she began to consider a military career…a decision that she never regretted.
Sept 7, 2003 – The wind today was over 40 knots and at times the sand was blowing so bad we couldn't see more than 20 feet ahead. Had to break out the goggles to keep the sand out of my eyes. It was bad.
Sept. 17, 2003 – (to Rick Simmons) – We are in Kuwait for just a couple more days. We have been busy, busy...doing environmental qualifications, gunnery, small arms ranges, classes and maintenance. My challenges as a commander continue to grow and change. It's still rewarding. It is truly an honor to be a Troop Commander in combat. I sent guys forward on the ground today. I'm certain that I will never forget the feeling I had when I saw that convoy roll away. Tough to describe over email . Felt a lot of different emotions. I'm sure that the day we cross the border in the air will be similar for me.
Sept. 18, 2003 – (to Rick Simmons) – Oh, so many things I miss about Easley. My favorite meal at Joe's is two grilled cheese sandwiches with fries and sweet tea. Gotta have ice cream afterwards, of course.
Oct. 6, 2003 – First day to access email (from Iraq). It's limited. I'm flying a lot and staying safe. Sleeping well, eating 2 hot meals a day and getting a warm shower every day. It's hot still, but getting cooler at night. The dust is still bad. I love you very much and can't wait to get home!
Oct. 13, 2003 – You may see some things in the news about our base or our aircraft. Just know that everything is just fine. My troop has not been involved and everyone is safe.
Oct. 24, 2003 – We should be moving into new tents in the next month. We kinda live in the ghetto right now – crowded with clothes and equipment hanging everywhere. Everyone is pretty comfortable though. I'm flying quite a bit. The body armor we wear when we fly hurts everyone's backs, especially on long flights. We have adopted the philosophy that if we are flying, then we are deterring enemy action, so we try to stay in the air as much as possible. The bad guys come out at night. They are hitting the ground guys hard. EIDs are the biggest threat and they are everywhere. I love you both very much and can't wait to get home to you!
Nov. 6, 2003 – I would love to do a family photo when I get back! Our power situation is getting better. Electric lights for Christmas will work out fine. We have gotten inventive with wiring to different generators. I think we may even have some real power run to buildings by the time the lights arrive. Living conditions seem to change daily and we are seeing a lot of improvements.
Nov. 16, 2003 – Got another box of goodies today - perfect timing. Things are hard to come by here and we rely on packages from home for our amenities. We're still in the tents we brought, set up behind big bunkers. It's kinda like a scene from a Vietnam movie. We've sandbagged most of the tents and it's like a little village. Clothes hang on the line between tents. Yes, I'm using the Santa hat box for a bedside table!
Nov. 21, 2003 – Please continue to pray for my unit, for our families, and for our emotional well-being. I love you all very much!
Nov. 27, 2003 – Happy Thanksgiving! Wish I could have been there. It's been a long time since I was home for Thanksgiving. Maybe next year. We all have a lot to be thankful for. Please let all the family know that I am well and counting the days until I get back home to them! Be safe and stay happy. I love you both very much and looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations when I get home.
Dec. 24, 2003 – Merry Christmas! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you guys. I am with you in spirit always. I love you.
Dec. 31, 2003 – (our last communication from Kimberly) – Hope you have a great New Years Eve. I love you both very much.