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Family, Friends Share Memories Of St. Paul Soldier

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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By Holly Wagner, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Family and friends of a 25-year-old St. Paul soldier killed in Afghanistan shared memories of him at a news conference Tuesday.

Army Spc. Joseph Kennedy was killed Friday when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms. Funeral arrangements have not been publicly announced.

This was his first combat tour.  He was part of the 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Knox, Kentucky. On Tuesday, his family and friends spoke to reporters about his life at the Inver Grove Heights Armory.

His parents didn’t speak, but a relative read a statement from them.

They described “Joe” as a daring young boy with a lot of energy, who loved to bike, skateboard and play video games. Kennedy was a wrestler and picked up welding as a hobby as a teenager.

He graduated from Simley High School.  In 2009, his parents say he decided to join the service, seeking more adventure in his life.

His parents wrote in the statement that their son believed in what he was doing in Afghanistan.  In his last few phone calls home, his mom Valerie says he told them he felt like they were building positive relationships with the Afghan army and the citizens.

His mom said he had ambitions of climbing the ranks and becoming an engineer and a Green Beret.

The Army awarded Kennedy with the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, posthumously.

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