Army Sergeant From Virginia Dies of Bomb Injuries in Iraq

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kenneth B. Gibson, who grew up in southwest Virginia, was remembered last night by someone who knew him as a child as sweet and outgoing.

"He was fun to be around," said Sabrina Scaggs of Riner, Va. "You had to love him."

Gibson went on to become a sergeant in an Army infantry division, and Sunday he died in Tarmiyah, Iraq, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Gibson, 25, died of wounds suffered when a makeshift bomb detonated near his position during dismounted operations, the Defense Department said.

According to the Pentagon, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Friends and neighbors said Gibson was a 2001 graduate of Christiansburg High School in Christiansburg, Va., near Blacksburg, and had worked in a supermarket during school.

"He was always willing to help people," said a former neighbor in Christiansburg. "He was a nice, very likable young man." A "real nice guy," said another former neighbor.

Scaggs knew him particularly well. She had been his baby sitter when he was in grade school and saw him grow up. He was an irresistible, "gotta-love-him kind of guy," she said.

"You had to love him, because he was just adorable," she said. "Absolutely adorable."

People liked to be with him, she said, and in addition, he was " a very smart young man."

One example of his thoughtfulness, she said, was the sacrifice he made to join his parents in attending her wedding, on his 13th birthday. For a teenager, she said, it's "a big deal" to give up the chance to celebrate with his own friends.

According to the Army, Gibson enlisted on March 6, 2002. He apparently had reenlisted at least once.

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