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Army Cpl. Joshua J. Kynoch, 23, of Santa Rosa; Killed by Explosive Device Near Bayji, Iraq

October 16, 2005|Julie Cart | Times Staff Writer

Joshua Kynoch sat before the television, transfixed and angry, as terrorists attacked the United States in 2001. Days later he and a childhood friend enlisted in the Army as infantrymen, asking to be sent to the front lines of the war on terror.

That impulse at age 19 led the Santa Rosa native to two tours of Iraq, where his unit patrolled in the dangerous Sunni Triangle.

Ryan Siliznoff, who joined the military with Kynoch, said the last time he talked to his buddy, he warned Kynoch to watch out for the improvised explosive devices that litter the roads in Iraq.

Kynoch, typically blase about danger, downplayed the risk, saying his unit had not yet seen any roadside bombs.

"It was weird," said Siliznoff, who received a medical discharge and is no longer in the service. "Of all things, we ended up talking about IEDs. I knew there was a big danger of them. Then, two days later, I got the news."

Kynoch, 23, was killed Oct. 1 when the Bradley fighting vehicle he was driving struck an explosive device while part of an Army convoy near Bayji, Iraq.

Kynoch, who was promoted posthumously from the rank of specialist to corporal, is survived by his wife, Sarah, and their 6-month-old daughter, Savannah.

The couple met at a local nightclub while Kynoch was home from his first tour of duty and married a year ago. Kynoch returned to Santa Rosa for the birth of his daughter but left for Iraq three days later.

His unit was 13 weeks from rotating back to the United States.

"He was a great kid. There wasn't a mean bone in his body," said Dan Siliznoff, who, along with his son Ryan, used to drink beer and play pool with Kynoch. "I loved the kid almost like a second son. I tried to talk him out of going back after his first tour. There was nothing I could say that would convince him. Once he made up his mind to do something, he was going to do it. It was something he felt he had to do."

Kynoch and Ryan Siliznoff worked odd jobs together before enlisting. Kynoch, a former wrestling star at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, worked at a family friend's landscaping business and as a part-time security guard after graduation. He also attended Santa Rosa Junior College.

Siliznoff said Kynoch was looking forward to leaving the Army, going back to community college and entering the police academy.

"He was excited he was getting out," he said. "He had his brand new baby girl. He was going to go to school. Everything was good."

Kynoch was part of an Army task force called the Dragoons. According to the Dragoons' website, the unit held a memorial service for Kynoch in Salah Ad Din province last week.

Among his awards and decorations, Kynoch earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, Ga.

He also is survived by his parents, Paul and Linda Kynoch; a brother, Matthew; and sisters Amy and Michelle. He was buried with military honors Friday at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Santa Rosa.

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