Family Remembers Region 8 Soldier Killed in Iraq

OAK GROVE HEIGHTS, AR -- Greene County native, 28-year-old Staff Sergeant Kevin Jessen was killed Sunday in Rawah, Iraq.

Jessen is the first soldier from Greene County to die in the war in Iraq.

Jessen was part of the Explosive Ordinance Division of the Army.  His job was to find and destroy explosive devices.

Jessen was assigned to the Army's 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Now, his family is grieving their loss, while remembering the son and brother that they loved.

His family said Jessen always loved the military.

“Kevin has always been all boy.  He’s been Army-oriented since he was five or six years old,” said Jessen’s mom, Gracie Jessen.

Mrs. Jessen says her son was a normal, but, rambunctious kid.  He, like other kids his age, liked to play with soldiers and jeeps.  He also liked to blow things up, so working as an explosives expert was the perfect job for him in the Army.

“The way he felt, he was 10 feet tall and bullet proof.  It’s just a job, it’s just something you go in there and do,” said Mrs. Jessen.

Mrs. Jessen says she wants her son to be remembered for the type of person he was.

“He was a great kid.  I suppose he will be called a hero, but he was just my son,” said Mrs. Jessen.

Jessen had been in the Middle East several times before.  

“This last time he said, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a breeze.  There’s nothing going on over there anymore.  It’s pretty much over there, so I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned’,” said Jessen’s sister, Tracy Miller.

While they knew there was danger there, Jessen's family says they didn’t really think about him getting hurt.  Now that he's gone, they can't imagine a future without him.


“The whole thought of him never coming back, I just can’t believe it,” said Miller. 

Jessen leaves behind his wife, Carrie, and their two-year-old son, Cameron.

Funeral arrangements have not been made at this time.


Jessen is the 30th Arkansan to die in Iraq since the war started in 2003.