Let the memory of SSgt Kimberly be with us forever
  • 27 years old
  • Born on August 24, 1976 .
  • Passed away on December 14, 2003 .

27, of Carlisle, Pa.; assigned to the 703rd Explosive Ordnance Detachment based in Fort Knox, Ky.; killed while responding to an explosive ordnance disposal call Dec. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated in Iskandariyah, Iraq.

Friends remember soldier killed in Iraq as a tough tomboy

FORT KNOX, Ky. — The tough tomboy had a quirky side, too.

Staff Sgt. Kimberly Voelz had to be tough — she was the only woman in a unit of specially trained soldiers who dash into a war zone looking for hidden explosives.

But the same blonde-haired tomboy who loved to roll around with the dogs in the backyard decorated her bedroom in antique furniture and white lace, and could whip up a tasty chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, said Nikki Puig, a friend who met Voelz at Fort Knox.

Puig was one of about 100 friends and fellow soldiers who packed into the Main Post Chapel at Fort Knox Friday for a service to mourn the death of Voelz, who was killed in Iraq last week.

“You couldn’t be around her and not instantly want to be around her more and more,” Puig said. “She made you feel good about yourself, about anything around you. You couldn’t be in a bad mood around her.”

Puig remembered the first time she saw Voelz’s elegant bedroom, and was surprised that such a tomboy could have a domestic side.

“She was a quirky little girl, Puig said. “When I first walked into her bedroom I was like, ‘This isn’t you at all.’”

“Oh yeah,” Voelz told her. But “this is it for decorating.”

Voelz, 27, of Carlisle, Pa., was the lone woman in the 17-member explosive ordnance disposal unit based at Fort Knox. The unit left for Iraq in September; Voelz died Sunday when an improvised explosive detonated while she was trying to defuse it.

Her commander in Iraq, Capt. Chad M. Carlson, said Voelz was headed toward a bright future in the Army. Voelz was just a few credit hours away from officer candidate school, and she and her husband, Staff Sgt. Max Voelz, had recently re-enlisted.

“I immediately recognized her natural leadership,” Carlson wrote in a letter, which was read at the service. “She had a wild streak in her, and she was always ready for the tough missions,” Carlson wrote.

Her husband was at her side when she died at a hospital in Baghdad.

The two met while in explosive ordnance disposal school at Indian Head, Md. They married in June 1999 and she later joined him at Fort Knox, where she become a team leader in her ordnance group.

“She was a soldier, but also a soldier’s wife and somehow fit into both worlds,” said Maj. Stan Harlow, a chaplain who presided over the service.

The Army has provided no other details of Voelz’s death, but Puig called it “a fluke mistake; it was nothing she did wrong.

“We want people to understand the circumstances she died under. She was in hostile areas, even though people say the war is over,” Puig said.

A memorial service was also held for Voelz in Iraq on Thursday. Her husband attended that service, according to the Army.

Voelz will be buried in Pennsylvania next week, the Army said.

Her name will be placed on a memorial for fallen members of explosive ordnance disposal units at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Carlson wrote in his letter.

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