30, of South Portland, Maine; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 3, 2009 in Kamdesh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his contingency outpost with small arms, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fires. Also killed were Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, Spc. Stephan L. Mace, Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, Sgt. Michael P. Scusa and Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson.
To honor SGT Joshua J. Kirk, his uncle Mr. Jerry Dinsmore retrieved this stone from the east branch river of the of the Oyster Lake near SGT Kirk’s birthplace in Thomaston, Maine.
Also to honor SGT Joshua J. Kirk, his mother Bernadette Kirk-Bonner retrieved this stone from the Moyie River in Moyie Springs, Idaho.
Bernadette Kirk-Bonner describes this origin of this stone and talks about her son —
“I am Bernadette Kirk-Bonner and the proud Gold Star Mother of Sgt. Joshua John Kirk who was killed October 3, 2009 at COP Keating, located in the Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.
The stone that you are carrying today was taken from the Moyie River in Moyie Springs, Idaho. Joshua and his family lived and played beside this river from the time he was four until he grew up and left home at age 21. Joshua and his 5 siblings (4 sisters and 1 younger brother) spent many wonderful summer days on the river, rafting and swimming. This stone is a reminder of those happy times. This stone also signify his love of rock climbing. When he was 19 he attended a Colorado Outward Bound 30 day mountaineering program. He returned with a passion for rock climbing as well as a deeper love for the wilderness he grew up in. If he were alive today I know that this is a journey he himself would undertake on behalf of the fallen. The mountain you are climbing today is significant on another level as well. While in our twenties, his father and I climbed this mountain and had our picture taken at the top. John has since died and I am too old to climb with you today but rest assured, we are both with you in spirit.
Everything that you need to know about Joshua was written in the book entitled, “The Outpost; An Untold Story of American Valor.” I hope you have or will take the time to read it. I am excerpting the passage that follows:
Kirk’s men saw him as being unafraid, unthreatened, and, at times, unrestrained. During firefights, he would tell them, “If you think you need to shoot something, shoot it. It doesn’t matter how much ammo you might waste. If you need to kill it, kill it.” Most of the guys at the outpost were tough, but Kirk, he was crazy brave-fearless. Absolutely.
Kirk had been born at home in Thomaston, Maine, the son of a Vietnam veteran who transformed himself from the dope-smoking head of a motorcycle gang into a born-again Christian carpenter. When Josh was five, the family moved to fifteen acres of land not far from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, a small town best known for U.S. law enforcement’s siege of a compound at nearby Ruby Ridge in 1992. The Kirks had running water but no electricity; their closet neighbors were five miles away. Joshua and his five siblings were homeschooled. Their entertainment was entirely self-created; building forts, sleeping in tents, playing flashlight tag, and, when they were teenagers, engaging in elaborate games of war. One such game, invented by Joshua, came to be called Test of Courage; it basically consisted of devising terrifying tasks and daring the other players to attempt them. The challenges started out harmless enough but then quickly escalated to dangerous acts such as exploring an abandoned silver mine, walking on top of the old Eileen Dam, and body-surfing fierce river rapids. In retrospect, it seemed astonishing that no one had ever died.
Kirk was back in in Afghanistan pretty quickly. He had been entitled under Army “stabilization” rules to have twelve months at home. He had returned to Afghanistan before he was required to. “I wasn’t going to let my soldiers come here without me,” Kirk, a team leader, explained.
The ancient Athenian general Pericles, in his funeral oration for the war dead said: ” Usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection. But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger.”
Sometimes courage is rooted in ignorance, as when men who don’t know what they’re about to face rise to the occasion. Joshua Kirk had ample knowledge about how dangerous it was in Nuristan, and yet he had hurried back. The palm of courage.”