TSgt (Ret.) Cory Kemp*, USAF

TSgt (Ret.) Cory Kemp*, USAF
U.S. Air Force
Lacey, Washington

Born in Oklahoma, Cory grew up in Augusta, GA where he was active in Future Farmers of America. A year after graduation, he joined the Air Force in 2001 to serve his country and learn structure and discipline.

After basic and technical training, Cory deployed to Qatar in 2002 and Rome in 2003. After several assignments, in 2007 his application for retraining in Explosive Ordinance Disposal was approved. He graduated in 2009 from EOD School.

As an EOD quick response force, they were responsible for responding to any possible IED threats the CAV unit encountered during their patrols in the Pangway district of Kandahar Province. On September 21, 2010, they were called to clear a suspicious area located during a patrol in a village named Hindu Kalachi. After disarming 3 IESs located in the patrol route, Senior Airman Buras and Cory investigated a small grape hut to search for any evidence left by insurgents. During the search SrA Buras stepped on a well concealed pressure plate fatally wounding SrA Buras and critically injuring Cory and TSgt Kindred. The 2 critically wounded Airmen were Medevac’d to Kandahar Air Base then to Bagram for medical stabilization.

Cory’s left eye had to be removed and his jaw wired shut. He was touch and go medically until arriving at Walter Reed on September 24. In addition to losing his left eye, he lost vision in his right eye, has a significant brain injury, and has lost strength in his upper arms. He is now going through rehabilitation, learning to live without sight.

Cory and his wife, Tara, were married on August 20, 2011, and will make the Northwest Coast their home (Washington or Oregon). He has a daughter who lives with her mother in Illinois. Cory and Tara love music and hope to own their own music store in the future.