HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Life in Beaver Lake, Neb., was a fun ride for the small-town boy. He spent most of his time riding four-wheelers, playing sports, and spending time with his girlfriend. Life was good. He never expected for it to be cut short at such a young age.
Beaver Lake native Cpl. Kristopher Kidd left this carefree life and is maturing into a responsible adult for the most important people in his life: his family.
Kidd sprung an interest in wrestling at a young age. The middle school rookie caught onto the fundamentals of the sport quickly, and it was the sport that introduced him to his future wife.
“Me and my girlfriend met in middle school in eighth grade,” explained Kidd. “I wrestled with her cousin, and since we were introduced to each other, we’ve been together since we were 14.”
Still, he admitted he wasn’t the most mature student in high school. He was more worried about what he was doing next weekend than what college he might attend the next year.
The thought of college made him realize, in his opinion, maybe he wasn’t ready to commit to it just yet. He figured finding a job in the meantime might open his eyes to something different.
Kidd found a position as a construction worker after graduating high school. The job required hours of physical labor and traveling, but he didn’t mind since his only other commitment at the time was his girlfriend.
After coming home from work one day, the 19-year-old’s life was flipped upside down. His girlfriend came up to him and said, “You’re going to be a daddy.”
“From that moment I knew it wasn’t just about me anymore,” said Kidd, now 22. “I was going to have a family, and the whole construction thing wasn’t going to be enough. It was time for me to grow up.”
In February 2009, Kidd took the oath of enlistment and headed for recruit training to become one of America’s elite warriors in the U.S. Marines. The decision was, according to Kidd, was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
“Me and my wife are really happy with the decision because we have a really good life now,” said the 2007 Conestoga High School graduate. “We own our house, we have two really good-looking kids, they’re taken care of, and we’re really happy.”
Kidd is now serving in Afghanistan as the warehouse non-commissioned officer for the Supply Section of Headquarters Battalion (Forward), 2nd Marine Division (Forward). The job requires him to keep track of millions of dollars worth of equipment and supplies, maintaining an inventory for more than 27 individual sections within the battalion.
The billet definitely requires someone who is responsible and trustworthy, according to Sgt. Marcos Martinez, the supply chief for the Supply Section.
“You need someone who possesses those qualities, and Corporal Kidd definitely exemplifies them everyday down at the supply lot,” said Martinez of El Paso, Texas. “I expect him to run the entire lot pretty much by himself with very little supervision and keep the sections happy.”
Thousands of dollars worth of gear comes into the supply lot daily. Kidd must sort through everything, process it and let the sections know when their ordered items have arrived.
The experience has helped him realize something he never had to worry about in his youth.
“I never had to really do anything for anyone other than myself in high school,” said Kidd. “Now, everything I do isn’t just for me, but for everyone else around me. The Marines need gear, and I get it to them. My wife and kids need me to provide for them, and I try to be the best father and husband I can for them.”
The warehouse non-commissioned officer in charge has kept pretty busy since arriving in Afghanistan in August 2011. There is never a day off, and he averages about 70 hours of work per week.
Kidd admits the deployment has been difficult. He said the hardest part before deploying for him was knowing he wasn’t going to see his family for an entire six months; now, he’s just happy being out here doing his part, serving those around him. He added this deployment and the Marine Corps in general have changed him as a person for the better.
“It made me realize how much I’ve matured since joining the Marines and starting a family,” said the blue-eyed Marine. “Being able to provide for my kids is very rewarding, and I can’t wait to see them and hang out with them again when I get back.”
Editor’s note: Headquarters Battalion (Forward) is assigned to 2nd Marine Division (Forward) heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.