Kurt E. Krout
Specialist, United States Army
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
August 9, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died on August 6, 2005, near Balad, Iraq, where they were conducting convoy operations when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV. Both soldiers were assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry.
Sergeant Brahim J. Jeffcoat, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Specialist Kurt E. Krout, 43, of Spinnerstown, Pennsylvania
For further information related to this release,
contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Specialist Kurt Krout was remembered Tuesday as a family man who loved playing video games with his children and taking trips to the Jersey Shore.
More than 100 family members and friends gathered Tuesday night to mourn the 43-year-old Milford man who was killed while serving in Iraq with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Krout was killed August 6, 2005, when a roadside bomb detonated near the Humvee he was driving.
"There is evil all over this world, and Kurt was one of those people trying to bring peace to that land," said Major Gary Taylor, an Army chaplain who led Krout's memorial service at C.R. Strunk Funeral Home in Quakertown.
Krout was one of seven National Guardsmen who were killed in four days, and one of six from Company A, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Division, a Philadelphia-based unit.
Krout will be laid to rest at 1 p.m. today at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The 10-year Guard veteran and former Marine was remembered as a stubborn man, Taylor said.
"His family was honest enough to say he was bullheaded," he said, as an appreciative chuckle went around the room. "But they knew how to sweet talk their way around him."
Krout liked war movies and science fiction novels, and he liked playing video games with his four children, ages 14 through 20.
"I have a feeling the goal was often to beat dad," Taylor said. "He enjoyed doing things at home."
He was also a dedicated military man. Krout served two years with the Marines after he turned 17 and earned his general equivalency degree while in the corps. Years later, in 1995, he decided to re-enlist, signing with the Guard.
"When the first Gulf War came around, I'm told Kurt wanted to go," Taylor said. "Perhaps that was what influenced his decision to join the Pennsylvania Army National Guard."
The Company A unit was called up in June 2004 but was short about 35 people needed to complete its mission. Krout, a member of Company B, volunteered. The company spent six months training in the United States before heading to Iraq in December.
"There are 100 soldiers over there going through the same kind of mourning that we are here," Taylor said of the unit.
Krout was also a hard worker outside the military. For the last five years he worked at the Quakertown Wal-Mart, most recently as deputy manager in the food department. Some of his co-workers at Tuesday's service recalled his sense of humor.
"He was a comedian," said James Odom. "He would always make you laugh."
And others remembered his selfless ways.
"He's one of the few people who you can truly not say a bad thing about," said Michael Older, who works in receiving. "He was always there if you needed something, if you wanted to talk, whatever. He was an all-around great guy."
In addition to his children, Krout leaves behind
wife, Karie, of Lansdale, and his mother, Ilse.
The mourners came en mass: a somber governor, about two dozen National Guardsmen, 75 Wal-Mart employees, more than 250 people in all, to pay their respects and say goodbye to Specialist Kurt Krout, 43, a Spinnerstown resident, father of four, fun-loving friend — and fallen soldier.
They waited patiently in line at C.R. Strunk Funeral Home in Quakertown on Tuesday evening as bagpipe music filled the humid night air.
Family members, friends, people who didn't even know Krout slowly filed past photos of him smiling and holding his children, past the rigid honor guard and flag-draped coffin, filling the auditorium to capacity and beyond for a memorial service.
Krout, a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, was one of two soldiers killed August 6, 2005, in northern Iraq when a roadside bomb detonated under their armored Humvee, military officials said.
He will be buried at 1 p.m. today at Arlington National Cemetery.
''There's nothing I could ever say to [Krout's family] that would compensate them for their loss,'' Gov. Ed Rendell said shortly before he entered the funeral home.
''When you fight for freedom and democracy and lose your life, that's about as noble a thing as you can do and they should be proud of [Krout].''
Matt Shuck is a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard's Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, which is based in northeast Philadelphia.
Company B was Krout's company, but Shuck said he volunteered to join Company A and go to Iraq when the word went out that they needed a weapons specialist. The company arrived in Iraq in December and was slated to stay a year.
''It's tough, like losing a brother, a member of your family,'' Shuck said of Krout, whom he described as ''a guy who made you feel good.''
Krout joined the Marine Corps when he was 17, served four years and joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1995.
''It's our job, you don't want to go, but it's our job,'' said Shuck, who said he had known Krout for seven years. ''There's the inherent danger and it's hard to explain to civilians. You don't want to go, but you go.''
Four members of Company A were in the Humvee, which was part of a supply convoy on a road near the city of Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
Sergeant Brahim Jeffcoat, 25, of Philadelphia was killed. Specialist Rudolph Roberson Jr., 27, of Philadelphia suffered serious head and leg injuries. Sergeant James Newman, 33, of Schwenksville suffered minor injuries.
Three days later, five members of the 111th Infantry Regiment were killed when a mine exploded and enemy forces attacked using small arms fire, according to the Defense Department.
Rendell said he plans to attend viewings or services for all seven men.
''The American people understand,'' the governor said. ''They may be divided on the war, but everyone supports the troops.''
Shuck said he was a little overwhelmed at the turnout for the memorial service.
''It makes you feel good that he was so well liked, that so many people came, some who didn't even know Kurt,'' he said.
A busload of about 25 of his co-workers from the Richland Township Wal-Mart plan to attend the burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Before he left for Iraq, Krout was the food department manager.
His son, Kurt Jr., 19, works in the store's maintenance department.
''He was so funny, there wasn't a word that came out of his mouth that wasn't funny,'' said Tami Hunsicker, a Wal-Mart manager. ''He was always the one to be there to lift the heavy box, to help you out.''
There is a memorial for Krout in the entrance of the Wal-Mart — flowers, photos, a book for people to write down their thoughts, and a big jar for donations that will be given to his children: Alicia, 20; Kurt Jr., 19; DeAnn, 14; and Leidy, 12. The two youngest live with their mother in the Lansdale area.
''People have put in over $500 so far,'' Hunsicker said. ''And at our meeting on Friday they announced that someone sent in an anonymous donation of $10,000.''
''We're just so glad someone would do that
for his children,'' added Joy Roeder, a cashier at the store.
Specialist Kurt E. Krout was remembered as a dedicated, hard-charging soldier during a graveside ceremony Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
The 43-year-old Spinnerstown resident and father of four was killed August 6, 2005, while on combat patrol with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in northern Iraq.
Krout was buried with honors. An Army bugler played taps. An Army firing party fired three volleys. Six Army pallbearers handled his flag-draped coffin.
The flag and a condolence letter from the Army were given to Krout's widow, Karie, from whom he was separated. Another flag was given to his mother, Ilse, with whom he was living.
''In life he honored the flag,'' said Chaplain Kenneth Kerr. ''In death, the flag will honor him.''
Kerr said Krout's dedication to the military was a family tradition handed down from his grandfather to his father to him.
He had joined the Marine Corps at 17 and served six years. At 33, Krout joined the Guard as part of Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, based in northeast Philadelphia. But he volunteered to serve with Company A as a weapons specialist when the company was deployed to Iraq in December for a year.
Krout was in an armored Humvee when a roadside bomb detonated underneath it. The explosion also killed Sgt. Brahim Jeffcoat, 25, of Philadelphia and injured two other company members.
Despite his age and family obligations, Krout was eager to serve in Iraq, according to friends and Major General Wesley Craig, commander of the 28th Infantry Division, which includes the 111th Infantry.
''He very much wanted to go on this deployment,'' Craig said. ''There was no hesitation.''
His coworkers at the Wal-Mart in Richland Township — including 27 who chartered a bus to attend his burial — worried about his safety but supported his decision.
Store manager Robin Ripple of Alburtis said she often pushed Krout, who managed the food department, to do better so he could be promoted. Stubborn but fun-loving, he nicknamed her ''Ragin' Robin Ripple.''
Ripple smiled at the memory. ''He'd give you the shirt off his back,'' she said. ''Kurt was a hero to us all, and he was a great guy.''
The store has established a memorial fund to help Krout's children, including Kurt Jr., 19, who worked in its maintenance department. Krout had another son, Leidy, 12, and two daughters, Alicia, 20, and DeAnn, 14.
Krout earned a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Good Conduct Medal. He was buried in a section of the cemetery with 165 other casualties from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Arlington burial was also something of a milestone for the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Craig said no one on active duty with the state's Army Guard had been buried at Arlington since 1950, when a train wreck in Ohio claimed the lives of 33 guardsmen just activated for deployment to West Germany.
Krout may also have been the Pennsylvania Army Guard's first combat fatality interred at Arlington since World War II, according to Sgt. Damian J.M. Smith, the Guard's official historian. Smith said the 28th Infantry Division served primarily in Europe during the Korean War and was held stateside in reserve during the Vietnam War.
Iraq has taken a toll on the Guard of late. Three days after Krout and Jeffcoat died, Iraqi insurgents claimed the lives of five more members of the 111th Infantry.
Craig said recruitment for the Pennsylvania Guard is down slightly but that morale among those serving in Iraq remains high. If anything, he said, they're more determined after Krout's death.
''It heightens their determination to find
his killer,'' Craig said.
Funeral arrangements are set for 6 Pennsylvania Guardsmen
The Department of Military and Veteran Affairs has announced the funerals of six Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers killed last week in Iraq.
Specialist Kurt Krout, 43, of Spinnerstown, Bucks Country, was buried yesterday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Specialist John Kulick, 35, of Jenkintown, will be honored at 10:30 a.m. today, with burial to follow in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham Avenue above Easton Road in Cheltenham.
A Funeral Mass for Sergeant Francis Straub Jr., 24, of Port Richmond, will be celebrated tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours Church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., Northeast Philadelphia. Burial will be in Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Richmond Street near Orthodox, at 1 p.m.
Services for Private First Classs Nathaniel DeTample, 19, of Morrisville, will be at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Calvary Full Gospel Church, Fairless Hills. Burial will follow immediately at Newtown Cemetery.
A Funeral Mass for Sergeant Brahim J. Jeffcoat, 25, of Philadelphia, will be celebrated at St. Athanasius Church, Walnut Lane near Cedar Park Avenue, at 11 a.m. Saturday. Burial will follow at Ivy Hills Cemetery, Wadsworth and Woolston avenues in the city's Cedarbrook section.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Corporal Gennaro Pellegrini, 31, of Port Richmond, at noon Saturday at St. Anne's Church, Lehigh Avenue near Aramingo Avenue. Burial will be at 1 p.m.
Posted: 19 August 2005 Updated: 17 October 2005 Updated: 11 March 2008
Photo Courtesy of Holly, October 2005