Hero Firefighter Enters His Third Tour in Iraq
In 2003, David Kean greets his daughter, Jenna Kean, then 4, after returning from service in Iraq as a military helicopter pilot. Kean is now on his third Iraq deployment, scheduled to end in September. (Press-Telegram)
Long Beach Press-Telegram
March 10, 2010
LONG BEACH – David Kean had already chosen an adventurous, life-saving career. So what could have motivated the Long Beach firefighter to join an even more unpredictable career more than 20 years ago?
“When I first became a firefighter, pretty much everybody at that station with me, with the exception of one guy, had been Vietnam vets,” Kean said. “They talked about their experiences and, to be honest, I felt kind of guilty that I had not served.”
So, in 1987, after a few years on the job, the then-23-year-old firefighter joined the U.S. Army Reserves.
Today, after 25 years with the LBFD, and more than 20 in the Army, the Fire Department battalion chief is serving his third deployment in Iraq and is no longer feeling guilty.
Growing up around his grandfather, a World War II Army pilot and a former Long Beach firefighter, inspired both of Kean’s career choices.
“My grandfather was a pilot in World War II, and I had always been interested in that, so I joined the Army Reserve so I could become a pilot,” said the Chief Warrant Officer.
As a kid, he spent so much time at the Long Beach Fire Department with his grandfather that becoming a firefighter seemed natural.
“It was almost what I was supposed to do,” Kean said.
In 2003, he received his first military deployment orders to Iraq.
“Everybody in the Army today is a volunteer and they know when they sign up that this is a possibility. They come over here and they do their job and they’re unbelievable,” he said.
Kean’s first deployment, in 2003, lasted six months. His second, in 2006, lasted for more than a year. His present deployment began in October 2009, and he is scheduled to return home in September.
“I am a devout patriot who loves my country. I will continue to answer the call to service as long as the Army will have me,” he said.
“The Army Reserves has given me a lot over the years. They paid for me to get my bachelor’s. They paid for me to get my master’s degree,” he said. “It’s all a part of the payback for all the Army has done for me.”
His wife of 11 years, Koreen, and their daughters Jenna, 10, and Ashlee, 6, are standing behind him.
“The girls and I are very proud of him and the reason we have gone along with this is because we know this is important to him,” Koreen Kean said. “We support him 100 percent in whatever he needs to do.”