Kenneth B. Elwell – Master Sergeant, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

July 18, 2011

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died July 17, 2011, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.  They were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Killed were:

Master Sergeant Kenneth B. Elwell, 33, of Holland, Pennsylvania; and

Private First Class Tyler M. Springmann, 19, of Hartland, Maine.

UPDATE:  July 19, 2011 — Sergeant First Class Class Elwell was posthumously promoted to Master Sergeant.

CORRECTION:  July 20, 2011 — Private First Class Springmann’s name corrected from Springman.

Clutching long white taper candles as they stood close together, the friends and supporters of the Elwell family looked toward the American flag at half staff and remembered Army Sergeant First Class Kenneth B. Elwell, who recently gave everything in the line of duty.

Elwell, a son, husband and father of two, was killed by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan on July 17.


“I’m here because I want to honor and respect a young man who came out and served his country. He gave his life. It’s the ultimate sacrifice. It’s young men who go in harm’s way so we can do this,” said Navy veteran Tom Lyons, wearing his blue Navy cap. He was one of dozens of members of the military at the candlelight vigil.

As evening fell, the flames from the candles set the park aglow. Elwell’s mother, sister and brothers were at the center of the group overflowing Robert Dembowski Jr. Veterans Memorial Park in Richboro. The park is named after another Northampton native who died in the line of duty.

The vigil started with a procession from the township building to the nearby memorial. Dozens of members of the Marine Corps League, Warrior’s Watch, local police, government officials and supporters walked holding American flags.

A flag for Elwell was placed in the military flag display in a private family ceremony at the township building, said veteran Marine Pete Palestina.

Patriotic songs set the mood as scores of sympathizers formed a line to talk to the family. Tears flowed freely from many eyes.

Elwell was the youngest child of Janice Elwell of Holland.

His brothers said the support of the community will help their family, and especially their mother, cope with the loss.

“I’ll remember what a great brother he was and what he meant to so many people, and what a great father he was to his children,” said his brother Michael Elwell.

Elwell’s wife and children are still in Alaska, where Elwell was stationed.

A service will be held in Northampton probably next week, and Elwell will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, tentatively on Aug. 10, said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Voice, the Army casualty assistance officer for the family.


Kenneth B. Elwell stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, with the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and a lifelong resident of Holland, prior to his enlistment in the United States Army died heroically in Combat on Sunday, July 17 in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was 33.

He was the beloved husband of almost 9 years to Kristen A. Mirabella Elwell and the loving father of Elise and Nickolas.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was the dear son of Janice Smith Elwell.

Sergeant Elwell answered the call of his country back in 1997 when he fulfilled his dream and enlisted in the United States Army, and on July 17th he made the ultimate sacrifice for his Country when his unit came under attack by enemy forces. He faithfully and honorably served one Tour of Duty in Bosnia, one Tour in South Korea, two Tours in Iraq, and one Tour in Afghanistan.

Ken was a 1997 graduate of Council Rock High School. He was an accomplished Varsity Soccer Player since the 9th Grade. He was also a member of the Ukrainian Nationals Team, Fox Chase and Northampton Soccer Clubs. He also competed in the Keystone State Games and Inner County Soccer tournaments.

Ken will be sorely missed by everyone who came to know and love him and also by the grateful Nation for which he swore to protect against tyranny and oppression.

In addition to his beloved wife, children and loving mother, Ken is survived by his 3 brothers Michael J Elwell (Eileen) of Croydon, Mahlon D. Elwell of Holland, and Scott A. Elwell (Joanne) of Bensalem, and his sister Susan A. Burkhard (Douglas) of Pineville. He is also survived by his Uncle John Smith, 5 nieces, 2 nephews, 1 great niece, and 2 cousins.

Relatives, friends, members of the Armed Forces and his community are invited to offer their condolences on Sunday, August 7, 2011, from 3:00 PM until his Funeral Service at 6:00PM from the Church of St. Andrew 81 Swamp Rd. Newtown, PA 18940.

Interment with Full Military Honors will be conducted at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at precisely 11:00AM.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Kenneth Elwell Family Trust, 3512 Ashville St. Phila., Pennsylvania 19136.


  • 1SG   US ARMY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 03/15/1978
  • DATE OF DEATH: 07/17/2011

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