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Rabbit KennedyCSM Lawrence Eugene “Rabbit” Kennedy, 93, passed away on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at the Oak Tree Manor in Amory. Rabbit was born to Fred and Edna Hadaway Kennedy on July 5, 1924 in Smithville, Mississippi. On October 9, 1940 at 16 years old, he left Smithville and made the two-day walking journey to Tupelo, Mississippi to join the U.S. Army. Only after drinking a belly full of water and eating a dozen bananas to fulfill minimum weight requirements, he was enlisted and was assigned to artillery until that still used mules. With the outbreak of World War II, Rabbit found himself with millions of other American soldiers in Britain preparing for entry into the European mainland and six days after D-Day, his unit moved ashore. Later, Rabbit became part of the unit that fought the 41-day Battle of the Bulge in which he recalled sharing a foxhole 9 days with a dead German soldier and with diplomatic capabilities; he met with Russians on the Ebb River. With a short stint in the Korean War, his career elevated him to Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army where he was able to testify before congress about Army policies that treated enlisted men unfairly, and also in this role he was able to convince the Army to equip helicopters with ammunition. In September 1965, CSM Kennedy had the privilege of leading the Army’s 1st Cavalry 9th Division into combat. He had personally overseen the men’s training and development as a unit at Fort Benning. No other unit ever reflected his character and demeanor more than the 1st Cavalry. When his men came ashore in Vietnam, it was CSM Kennedy at the front, proudly carrying the American flag. The time that CSM Kennedy spent in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry would cement his legacy as one of the most respected and trusted non-commissioned officers. CSM Kennedy could command and move 500,000 troops, and on July 1975, Rabbit retired as CSM of the 5th Army at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX and came back home to Amory. His career spanned 3 wars which yielded him 4 Legions of Merit, 4 Bronze Stars, 5 Army Commendations, and he participated in 506 airborne jumps. Also, he was the first enlisted man inducted into the Hall of Fame at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker. Much of CSM Kennedy’s memorabilia is on display at the Amory Regional Museum which he would proudly discuss with anyone. Although his career in the Army allowed him to meet many governmental dignitaries and television personalities, his concern was always for the American enlisted men. A humble man born to a destitute family, he went on to become one of the Army’s most decorated soldiers and loved by all people. He was run out of town for shaking and moving, but 70 years later he was given the key to the city. He was often seen around town in his perfectly starched and pressed denim jeans where he would give his custom greeting of “Ole Soldier.” His survivors include his son, Michael Kennedy (Joann) of Florida; his daughter, Donna Slangal (Chad) of Wren; his brother, Ira Kennedy (Margaret) of Smithville; grandchildren, Matthew Lawrence Kennedy, Michael Wayne Kennedy, Kim Gray (Randy), and Sinty Griffin (Jeff); great grandchildren, Keeley Kennedy, Winter Brook Kennedy, Brenden Griffin, and David Michael Griffin; a host of nieces and nephews; and friends, Teresa Childers and staff of Oak Tree Manor. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, David and Clovis Kennedy; and an infant son, Lawrence Kennedy. Visitation for CSM Kennedy will be from 5 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at the Cleveland-Moffett Funeral Home in Amory. Memories and condolences may be expressed at clevelandmoffettfuneralhome.com
I had the pleasure of working for CSM Kennedy as a Clerk-Typist in HHT 1/9 Cav at fort Benning in 1965. He was a man we could always talk with, always interested in the welfare of us enlisted guys. He always called me "Hu-Boy", always had something for me to do. I will always remember him as a real soldier and a true friend of the common soldier. RIP Smaj, until we meet again.. Sp4 Billy H. Hughes
Sp4 Billy Hughes Nov 28 2017 2:44 PM
Live on at Fiddlers Green Rabbit. You will find many old friends there. It was a pleasure having served under you, filled with memories good and bad that I will remember until my time also comes. RIP brother.
DickTimmons Aug 4 2017 1:52 PM
WE SURE HAD ALOT OF FUN HAULING GAS UP HIGHWAY 45 --OLE SOLDIER ALWAYS HAD PLENTY OF TALES TO TELL --A GREAT AMERICAN !! THEY WILL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER RABBIT KENNEDY !! WE MISS YOU BROTHER !!
TRAVIS ROBERTS Aug 3 2017 8:38 PM
Sergeant Major Kennedy was a great man and exemplary soldier. I went to Vietnam with him. I've always remembered him and am sorry of news of his departure. He is loved and will be missed for years to come. I feel honored to have known him. A real legend and American hero! Marvin S. (Buddy) Holder, Medic H/HT 1/9th Cav 1st Cav Div. 1965-66
Marvin (Buddy) Holder Aug 3 2017 2:55 PM
Tim and Amber Little lit a candle for Rabbit Kennedy
Tim and Amber Little Aug 3 2017 9:53 AM
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family. He was our friend, our neighbor and a life no one can surpass. He will be missed.
Jimmy Lee and Anne Lusk Aug 3 2017 6:30 AM
Dwight and Kathy King lit a candle for Rabbit Kennedy
Dwight and Kathy King Aug 3 2017 6:19 AM
Natalie Tubb Marshall lit a candle for Rabbit Kennedy
Natalie Tubb Marshall Aug 3 2017 5:54 AM
Rabbit Kennedy is my first cousin, also. My family will always remember Rabbit Kennedy. They will have their own family hero to write about in their school reports! May the Lord bless Rabbit Kennedys family. Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Phil, Elizabeth, Susan, Jill, and Aaron Mancil
Elizabeth Kennedy Mancil Aug 2 2017 4:20 PM
You will always be remembered not only the old soldier but also the top soldier. I know you are probably reorganizing our troopers that have gone on before us. Look forward to seeing you and all our brothers in heaven. CW4 Rex Dula
CW4 Rex Dula Aug 2 2017 8:45 AM