Ambitious N.Va. Soldier Is Laid to Rest

Widow Christy, mother Martha and father Edward, second from right, grieve for Sgt. Scott Kirkpatrick, who wanted to be president, his father said.
Widow Christy, mother Martha and father Edward, second from right, grieve for Sgt. Scott Kirkpatrick, who wanted to be president, his father said. (Photos By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)
By Mark Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 24, 2007

Army Sgt. Scott L. Kirkpatrick was a poet, an actor and a soldier. He talked about being president someday, "because he knew nobody else could run the country the way he could," his father, Edward Kirkpatrick, recalled.

Scott Kirkpatrick, 26, was killed Aug. 11 in Arab Jabour, Iraq, by a makeshift bomb, the Department of Defense reported. More than 350 mourners gathered at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday to pay their respects to the fifth-generation Washingtonian.

"He had a really strong sense of liberty," his father said. "The kind of kid he was, he always carried around a copy of the Federalist Papers and the Constitution.

"From the time he could talk, he said, 'I'm going to be president someday.' He was not your normal kid."

Kirkpatrick was born in Washington and spent his first few years in Frederick, but he grew up mostly in Herndon and Sterling. He graduated from Sterling's Park View High School in 1998 and worked in the dot-com industry.

When the industry went bust, he attended Northern Virginia Community College and studied political science and creative writing. A voracious reader, Kirkpatrick was dedicated to such artistic pursuits as writing, acting and poetry. He also wrote slam poetry, and in 2000, he won a competition in Washington and spent the summer touring the country, visiting such places as New York, Chicago and Boston.

Kirkpatrick was initially more interested in acting, having taken up the craft in junior high and continuing through high school, and he once co-starred with actress Hilarie Burton, now on the television show "One Tree Hill," his father said. He also acted in community theater.

But he became more and more interested in slam poetry because it gave him a chance to write as well as perform. When he decided to join the Army in early 2004, his father was astonished.

"All of a sudden, he announced he was going to join the Army, and it was, 'You're doing what?' " Edward Kirkpatrick said. "And he explained to all of us why he was doing it, and when he was done, it all made sense."

Kirkpatrick was a deeply political person, and he wanted to do something for his country after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his father said. And even though he had never worked well with authority, he flourished in the structure of the military, Edward Kirkpatrick said. Two years after enlisting, Scott aced the sergeant's exam. He loved the Army and aspired to work in intelligence.

When he came home on leave after basic training, he and his girlfriend, Christy Blasingame, told his parents they were getting married just five days later.

"I never saw a couple in love quite the way those two were," Edward Kirkpatrick said.

He left for his second tour in Iraq on May 11, his wife's 29th birthday. His wife, father and mother, Martha S. Kirkpatrick, were presented with folded American flags at his burial.

Three other soldiers died from the blast that killed Kirkpatrick: Staff Sgt. William D. Scates, 31, of Oklahoma City; Sgt. Andrew W. Lancaster, 23, of Stockton, Ill.; and Spec. Justin O. Penrod, 24, of Mahomet, Ill. All four soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company