Saturday, April 10, 2004

'Emotional lock box'

Equal Right to Fight

This article is sort of about the role of women in dangerous combat areas. Someone remarks that it's not much talked about when a woman dies - like we've put the issue in an "emotional lock box." But the story is so heavily framed, it's hard to read the article as anything more than the story of another fallen American.

CARLISLE, Pa. — Kimberly Fahnestock Voelz is buried near the church where she was baptized, a few miles across fallow farm fields from the stables where she raised quarter horses as a teenager. Next door is the yellow frame house she left one day in 1996 and, without telling her parents, joined the Army.

Kimberly came home in a military coffin in December, dead at age 27 from a booby-trapped bomb in Iraq. She was the first American female explosive ordnance disposal expert ever killed in action — the 453rd U.S. service member killed in Iraq and one of 16 women to give their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Voelz died in the arms of her husband, Max Voelz, also a staff sergeant on the 17-person ordnance disposal team on which Kimberly was the lone woman. . . . .

The couple met during ordnance disposal training and married in 1999. They had recently reenlisted, the Fahnestocks said. Kimberly's memorial service was held in the same church where she was married, and she is buried nearby in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

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