CPL. Ciara M. Durkin
Ciara was born in Ireland in 1977. She was the eighth child born into the Durkin family. She was the sixth girl, and had two brothers (not including Pierce, who had yet to be born).
They lived in a quiet rural area in one of the westernmost points in County Galway. It was a small island connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. The island had a spectacular view of the Mayo mountains at the back of the family home, and of course, the view of the Atlantic ocean surrounding the island.
Pierce was born in 1979. Together, they lived with their mother Angela and father Tommy. Ciara went to school at Scoil Bhride, Leitir Caladh, then went to Scoil Mhuire, An Tuairin. During the summer of 1986, Tommy, Angela, Ciara and Pierce visited the United States. They enjoyed it very much and decided to move to the US permanently. They returned to Ireland to prepare for the move, then moved in August of 1986.
A few months after the move to the United States, Ciara's father died of a heart attack. It was a difficult loss for the entire family. Tommy was dearly loved by all of them.
Ciara's mother decided to stay in the US with Ciara and Pierce. There they attended grammar school until 1987 when Ciara moved back to Ireland to live with her sister. There she lived with her sister, her brother-in-law, two nieces, and nephew. Ciara was like a daughter to her sister and brother-in-law, and a sister to to her nieces and nephew for the years she lived there. She lived there until 1991, when she decided to move back to the US to be with her mother and little brother.
While in the US, she went to Fontbonne Academy. She graduated and considered joining the Navy. She decided to stay in the US for a while longer, and enter the civilian workforce.
She started working at Fenway Community Health Center in Boston. She was an IT specialist, and worked there until 2005. At that point Ciara decided to pursue a career in the military. She investigated her options, talked with her family and friends, and decided to enter the Army National Guard on the first week of October 2005. Following her decision to enter the service, she met her future partner Haidee.
Ciara went to several weekend drills at Camp Edwards in Cape Cod. In January of 2006 she left for Basic Training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. She graduated in March of 2006. Ciara traveled to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Edgewood, Maryland. She started Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and was chose to be a Humvee mechanic as her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).
Ciara returned home for Memorial weekend that same year, and graduated from AIT in June. She returned to Massachusetts and started working as a supply assistant at the West Newton Armory.
In November, Ciara and her 726th Finance Battalion were deployed to Afghanistan. Before leaving for Afghanistan, Ciara had pre-deployment training in Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
Much to the family's happiness, Ciara was able to make a suprise return home for Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving she returned to Camp Atterbury, and returned home again for the holidays. It as a very happy time, but unfortunately, this was the last Christmas Ciara and her family would spend together.
Ciara returned to Camp Atterbury after spending New Years Eve with her brother Pierce, Haidee, and some mutual friends. Ciara was able to participate in the AFC Championship Game halftime show (the Patriots vs. Colts) at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. During the show, she held the American flag with hundreds of other soldiers.
In February 2007, Ciara left for Bagram Air Force Base (BAFB) in Afghanistan, where she lived and worked until her leave during the first two weeks of September. Ciara returned to Afghanistan on the 15th of September. On September 28th, 2007, Ciara was found in BAFB with a single gunshot wound to the head.
During her tenure in the Army National Guard, Ciara was awarded with the following awards and medals:
- Army Commendation Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Army Service Ribbon
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/ "M" device
- Overseas Service Ribbon
- NATO Medal
- State Awards: Massachusetts Defense Service Ribbon & Massachusetts Defense Expeditionary Medal