OAK HARBOR, Ohio — A soldier from northwest Ohio was killed in Iraq when his vehicle was hit by an explosive device, his aunt said July 6.
Army Sgt. Keith Kline, 24, of Oak Harbor, died July 5 after the convoy he was riding in was struck by a roadside bomb, said Kline’s aunt, Paulette Lipstraw. Military officials notified Kline’s parents later that day.
Kline graduated in 2002 from Oak Harbor High School, about 20 miles east of Toledo. He joined the Army shortly after graduation and re-enlisted for another 5-year stint after his initial 3-year term expired.
“That was just what he knew he wanted to do, and I had said to him, ‘Keith, people get killed in war,’ and he said, ‘At least if I die this way I will die serving my country and protecting my country,’ ” Lipstraw said.
“He completely and totally believed in what he was doing,” she said.
Kline worked in communications as a member of the 82nd Airborne based at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was
on his first deployment to Iraq. He had previously served overseas in Kuwait and Africa.
Lipstraw remembered her nephew’s pride when he came back from a large deficit to place sixth at the state wrestling meet in 2002.
“He just never gave up,” she said. “He had a heart of gold. He was the kind of person that always gave and never expected anything back.”
The family had not yet made funeral arrangements.
SGT Keith A. Kline was serving his first tour in Iraq when he fell victim of an improvised explosive device on July 5th while conducting a patrol during combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq. SGT Kline gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of his country.
Sgt. Kline was a communications systems support specialist with the U.S. Army assigned to the Bravo Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) based in Fort Bragg, N.C. He had re-enlisted after serving three years in Iraq.
Born in Oak Harbor, Ohio, SGT Kline was a member of the wrestling team at his high school. He placed sixth in the state wrestling tournament his senior year. After completing high school SGT Kline joined the military. His awards and decorations include four Army Achievement Medals, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Basic Parachutist Badge.
A close friend in the military stated, “I worked with him every day for four years. You couldn’t help but love him … he was just always so optimistic and happy-go-lucky. You could be having a good day and just talking to him it went from a good day to a great day. He was just one of those people.”
SGT Kline was laid to rest in a honored funeral on Monday, July 16, 2007. The funeral was attended by a large crowd from his community and those who served with him. He was a great patriot of America! May we always remember his example of service to his country.