Kendall K. Frederick – Specialist, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1078-05

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Specialist Kendall K. Frederick, 21, of Randallstown, Maryland, died near Tikrit, Iraq, on October 19, 2005,when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during convoy operations.  Frederick was assigned to the Army Reserve’s 983rd Engineer Battalion, Monclova, Ohio.

Explosion Near Tikrit Kills Soldier From Md.

Courtesy of the Washington Post

A U.S. Army Reservist and power-generator mechanic from Randallstown, Maryland, was killed last week in an explosion near Tikrit, Iraq.

Kendall K. Frederick, 21, a Specialist with the 983rd Engineer Battalion based in Monclova, Ohio, was traveling in a convoy near Tikrit on Wednesday when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle, according to the Defense Department, which announced his death Friday.

“He was a victim of an IED attack on his convoy,” said Lieutenant Colonel. Carl Ey, an Army spokesman. “He passed away at 6:15 p.m. [Iraq] time in Tikrit.”

Ey said the Army offered its “sincerest condolences” to Frederick’s family.

Maj. Greg Yesko, a spokesman for the 99th Regional Readiness Command, which includes Maryland, said Frederick was traveling in the last truck in the convoy when the explosion occurred.

Frederick served with a battalion that specializes in heavy construction, including roads and other infrastructure, Yesko said. In Iraq, such work requires a portable electricity source and such mechanics as Frederick to keep things going.

“They operate and maintain generators,” Yesko said. “When you’re doing construction, you need mobile power.”

Yesko said Frederick’s mother, who lives in Randallstown, said the family did not want to be interviewed yesterday. He said the family would probably release a statement and other information about Frederick today.

It was the latest in a deadly series of incidents in Iraq in recent days involving soldiers from Maryland, and it added to the mounting U.S. death toll in the conflict. Nearly 2,000 members of the U.S. military have died in Iraq.

On Octobert 14, 2005, three Maryland National Guard soldiers who were members of the 243rd Engineer Co. were killed after a tractor-trailer accidentally hit their ammunition-loaded Humvee, sparking a fire and explosion.

Specialist Bernard L. Ceo, 23, and Sergeant Brian R. Conner, 36, both of Baltimore, and Specialist Samuel M. Boswell, 20, of Fulton were the first Maryland National Guard soldiers killed overseas in the line of duty since World War II.

On Wednesday, Lance Corporal Norman W. Anderson III, of Parkton, Maryland, was killed by a suicide bomber while he was on patrol in Karabilah, according to the Defense Department. Anderson was a newlywed and former running back at Hereford High School.

Three weeks ago, Specialist Kendall K. Frederick was with his mother and siblings in Randallstown, laughing and playing with his 3-year-old brother, Kwesi.

He had come home from wrenching experiences in Iraq, including killing someone for the first time and enduring the death of comrades. Although he was scared, family members and a former mentor said, he decided to return to Iraq because he loved the Army and believed in doing his duty.

Specialist Frederick was killed Wednesday outside of Tikrit when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle. He was driving the vehicle, which was last in a convoy, an Army reserve spokesman said. Specialist Frederick, 21, was the fifth service member with ties to Maryland to die in Iraq this month and the 35th overall. As of yesterday, 1,996 U.S. service members have died since the war began, according to the Associated Press.

Born in Trinidad, Specialist Frederick graduated from Randallstown High School in 2004 and moved to Michigan for a job as a mechanic. He enlisted with the Army Reserve’s 983rd Engineer Battalion out of Monclova, Ohio, serving as a power generator equipment mechanic, his mother, Michelle Murphy, said.

While he was home on leave three weeks ago, Specialist Frederick spent time with old friends and visited cadets at Randallstown’s Junior Navy ROTC program, where had been a platoon commander.

Stephan J. Strzemienski, a retired Navy commander who led the program, said he spoke to Frederick at length about the soldier’s time in Iraq.

“He was telling me about his experiences over there and that it had been hard for him,” Mr. Strzemienski said. “He never really knew from day to day what was going to happen, how you have to be really careful over there and that you never know one minute to the next with these car bombs. He had seen several of his friends get killed, and he had to shoot someone, and he was upset about that.”

Mr. Strzemienski said Specialist Frederick was a quiet and disciplined student who looked forward to joining the Army after graduating. But after 10 months in Iraq, he had lost some of his excitement.

“He wasn’t that excited about going back, but we just basically agreed that it was his duty and that it had to be done,” Mr. Strzemienski said. “There was no fun in it for him. He wanted to come home. He almost made it, I guess.”

Mr. Strzemienski said Specialist Frederick was the first cadet he mentored who had been killed in combat. About one in 10 joins the military, he said.

Ms. Murphy said her son’s death has been especially hard because he had just come to visit.

“He was so happy to be home.” she said. “We laughed a lot and had a great time. He visited all his friends, and he was hoping to be back for the holidays. He came home for a reason — to tell us he loved us.”

Specialist Frederick, her eldest son, bonded a great deal with Kwesi, a little brother he scarcely knew before the visit, Ms. Murphy said. When Specialist Frederick would leave the house, Kwesi would cry and ask for him, she said. He also spoiled his two sisters, Kennisha, 15, and Kendra, 11.

“He would spoil them rotten,” she said. “When they couldn’t get anything from me, they would just call their big brother, and he would give it to them. … He was a wonderful son, just a joy to be around for everyone who met him, even for the first time.”

Funeral plans will be announced.

Besides his mother and siblings, Specialist Frederick is survived by his stepfather, Kenmore Murphy, and his father, Peter Ramsahai of Trinidad.

Fallen Soldier’s Family To Fight For New Law
Family Says Soldier Died In Iraq Seeking U.S. Citizenship
1 November 2005

The family of a fallen soldier said they plan to make Congress aware of who’s fighting the U.S. war in Iraq.

Army Reserve Specialist Kendell Frederick, 21, of Randallstown, died in Tikrit, Iraq, on October 19, 2005, when the convoy he was riding in hit an improvised explosive device.

Frederick’s family credits the Army with helping their son hone his leadership skills and find a career, but that’s where their support of the Army ends.

Born in Trinidad, Frederick moved to the United States about six years ago. Frederick, 21, finished high school, enlisted with the Army and served in Iraq as a generator mechanic, all with the 983rd Engineer Battalion based in Ohio.

Frederick’s family said the soldier was killed less than three weeks after a 15-day leave.

Michelle Murphy wants her son remembered for his smile.

“He’s everything, he’s my oldest son and he just made me proud. He was well-loved by a lot of people,” she said.

“We’d go to the mall, play outside, just like do normal brother and sister things,” said Kendra Murphy, the soldier’s sister.

The family said Frederick had matured into a beautiful, thoughtful young man, a soldier who loved military life and leadership — but not war.

“He called me and he couldn’t stop crying,” Michelle Murphy said. “He was hysterical, upset — he had killed someone for the first time and he just couldn’t handle it.”

Frederick also shared his misgivings with Commander Stephen Strzemienski, the man who guided Frederick through four years of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Randallstown High School. Frederick graduated in 2004.

“Kendell told me Iraq was a dangerous, perilous place to be on any given day,” Strzemienski said. “He didn’t like that he didn’t know from one day to the next … what will happen. He had seen combat and it bothered him. It bothered him to have to take other lives.”

Frederick had actually completed his initial tour, but the service extended it by six months.

“He hated where he was, but that was his job and the man that he is, he stepped up and did his job,” said Kenmore Murphy, the soldier’s stepfather.

Strzemienski said Frederick liked being in a leadership role so much that he considered military service as a career.

“I had watched him grow up, and the last time I saw him, he had blossomed into a mature, thoughtful young man. When we parted, I told him he was a hero,” Strzemienski said.

“Now, we have an angel watching over us, and that’s how I look at it,” Michelle Murphy said.

Family: 21-Year-Old Died Trying To Become U.S. Citizen

“There are a great number of people serving who are not U.S. citizens,” Michelle Murphy said.

Amara reported that the soldier’s mother believes her son died trying to become an American citizen. She said his application had been tied up in red tape and he was aboard the convoy to try and fix the problem.

“I got a letter from the commander, stating that’s the only reason that he was on that convoy was to do the fingerprints again — trying to become an American citizen, and (he) died doing it,” Michelle Murphy said.

Upon his burial on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery, Frederick will be awarded American citizenship — a goal the soldier’s family said comes too late for them, but not others.

The family plans to fight for “Kendell’s Bill,” a measure that would ensure soldiers fighting for this country can automatically become U.S. citizens if they choose to.

“This bill we are drafting will make sure the moment an alien resident enters the military and swears to protect and defend this country, citizenship will be granted,” Frederick’s great aunt, Dr. Elaine Simon, said.

“If this can help somebody else, it’s gonna be worth my fight,” Michelle Murphy said.

Funeral Services:

Sharon Baptist Church
1373 N. Stricker St., Baltimore
Friday, November 4, 2005 at 9 a.m.

Love of Adopted Country Celebrated
Soldier Laid to Rest, Granted Citizenship

Courtesy of the Washington Post

Specialist Kendell K. Frederick was born in Trinidad and moved to the United States in his early teens. Although he was not a citizen, he loved his adopted country so much that he enlisted in the Army Reserve.

He was pursuing U.S. citizenship when he was killed in Iraq on October 19, 2005. Frederick, 21, of Randallstown, died at 6:15 p.m. when an improvised explosive devise detonated near his vehicle. He was in the last truck of a convoy when the explosion occurred.


Michelle Murphy, mother of the slain soldier, is comforted as loved ones gather at Arlington National Cemetery.

Yesterday, Frederick, one of five Marylanders killed in Iraq last month, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. During the ceremony, his family received a certificate that granted Frederick U.S. citizenship posthumously.

Frederick was also awarded a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, a Meritorious Service Medal and a posthumous promotion to Sergeant, according to Major Greg Yesko, a spokesman for the 99th Regional Readiness Command, which includes Maryland.

More than 200 mourners paid their respects to Frederick at his final resting place. After a three-volley rifle tribute, a bugler played taps as a yellow butterfly fluttered over the flag-draped coffin.

An honor guard solemnly folded the flag and handed it to Major General William H. Johnson, who knelt to present it to Frederick’s mother, Michelle Murphy. Another flag was presented to his father, Peter Ramsahai, and a third to his grandfather, Kenneth Rogers.

Other relatives included Frederick’s stepfather, Kenmore Murphy, and younger siblings Kennisha, Kendra and Kwesi. “I truly believe he represented the very finest America’s youth has to offer,” said Stephan Strzemienski, the retired Navy commander in charge of the Navy Junior ROTC at Randallstown High School. Frederick joined the program as a freshman and participated all four years, eventually rising to the rank of chief petty officer before graduating in 2003.

Strzemienski said Frederick was a model student, with strong academic skills, exemplary behavior and an athletic prowess that he displayed on the school soccer team. Over the years, he watched Frederick mature into a focused and capable young man who was proud to wear his military uniform. Strzemienski wasn’t surprised when Frederick decided in his junior year to pursue a career in the military.

“He was focused. He had direction, and he knew what he wanted,” Strzemienski said.

After graduation, Frederick began training as a mechanical engineer. He was assigned to the Army Reserve’s 983rd Engineer Battalion, based in Monclova, Ohio, and was sent to Iraq to work on power generators. His unit, which specializes in construction of roads and infrastructure, depended on him to operate and maintain the portable electrical sources needed to perform their work.

While home on leave about a month ago, Frederick returned to his high school campus and took time to talk to JROTC cadets, answering their questions about the military with candor and even discussing his feelings about having killed enemy fighters.

“There were occasions he had to shoot back, and I think it bothered him,” Strzemienski said. “He wasn’t comfortable with that at all.”

Elaine Hyatt, a neighbor who had known Frederick for several years, saw him during his recent leave. She was pulling into her driveway when she spotted the brilliant smile.

“You have never seen a smile like this young man had,” Hyatt said. “That smile just warmed your heart. It kind of made you want to sing inside.”

Hyatt had watched Frederick play in the back yard with his toddler brother, Kwesi, during his visit and said the little one clung to his older brother like glue.

“This is a young man who gave his life for all of us,” Hyatt said. “It’s a tremendous loss for everybody.”

Frederick was the 188th person killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Courtesy of the McClatchy Newspapers

When Army Reserve Sergeant Kendell Frederick applied to become a U.S. citizen, he assumed that he would be approved quickly. After all, he was being deployed to Iraq, where he’d be expected to fight on behalf of the United States.

But the process dragged on for months because of paperwork mix-ups and misfiled fingerprints. In the meantime, Frederick, 21, was sent to Iraq.

Intent on straightening it out anyway, he went to a nearby base for a new set of fingerprints.

But Frederick never returned. On the way back from the base, he was killed in a roadside bombing.

Frederick’s death in late 2005 highlights the plight of the more than 23,600 noncitizens serving in the U.S. military. Although they’re expected to fight and possibly die for the United States, they can encounter a daunting bureaucracy when they attempt to naturalize.

“My son put his life on the line for this country,” his mother, Michelle Murphy, said recently, “yet he had to beg for his citizenship.”

Frederick, a native of Trinidad, faced such difficulties despite efforts to make it easier for military personnel to become citizens. In 2002, President Bush signed an executive order that made military personnel eligible to apply for citizenship immediately instead of having to wait three years. Since then, 20,000 military personnel have received U.S. citizenship.

Chris Bentley, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes the applications, said he didn’t believe immigration authorities should be blamed for the delays in Frederick’s case.

“I think this is a unique case where errors were made and things simply didn’t go right,” he said. “I don’t think it reflects a larger problem with bureaucracy.”

But many military personnel continue to wait months – some even years – for their applications to be approved. Of the estimated 9,800 military applications pending currently, 751 have waited more than six months.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/17/1984
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/19/2005


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