Miss. soldier dies in Afghanistan

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Mississippi native was one of three soldiers killed Sunday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said.

Charles B. Kitowski III, 31, was living in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch but was born in Gulfport, Miss., the military said.

Kitowski and the two others died Sunday in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. He was assigned to the 345th Psychological Operations Company, 2nd Psychological Operations Group, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

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“Charles died doing what he felt duty bound to do. Please remember his life, his happy memories, his favorite expressions or advice he ever offered,” his family said in a statement.

Kitowski worked in the finance department at Southwest Airlines in Dallas before deploying to Afghanistan. He earned several military awards, including the Marksmanship Qualification Badge and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, command officials said.

Kitowski is survived by his parents, Chuck and Theresa Kitowski, of Katy, Texas.

Kitowski also had connections to Houston, where he attended St. Thomas High School and the University of St. Thomas. He joined the Army two years ago after obtaining his college degree, according to the Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

Also killed with Kitowski were Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey D. Kettle, 31, of Madill, Okla., and Staff Sgt. Jesse G. Clowers Jr., 27, of Herndon, Va. They were both part of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg.

Joel Kettle, Kettle’s uncle, said military service runs in the family, and that his nephew was on his fourth tour of duty overseas. Jeffrey Kettle’s parents, Ronald and Cindy, live in Saudi Arabia, where Ronald Kettle works for a chemical company, Joel Kettle said.

Jeffrey Kettle loved the outdoors and would hunt squirrels when he visited his uncle.

“He was a fun-loving kid growing up,” said Joel Kettle, adding that his nephew grew up in Texas City, Texas. “It really surprised me and made me feel proud when he joined the Army and excelled.”