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U.S. Soldier Among Kenya Victims

August 8, 1998

Kenneth Hobson Sr. worried when his son went off to war in the Persian Gulf, but not when he was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.

``He never gave me any reason to worry,″ Hobson said from his home in Lamar, Mo., on Friday. ``He never indicated that he felt any danger at all. He loved it over there. He liked going on safaris and things.″

His son, Army Sgt. Kenneth R. Hobson 2nd, was one of at least eight Americans killed when a bomb exploded outside that embassy in Nairobi on Friday morning.

Relatives identified two other victims as Arlene Kirk, 50, who worked for the Air Force, and Molly Huckaby Hardy, 51, a veteran State Department employee.

The bomb in Kenya exploded within minutes of a bomb outside the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Tanzania. No Americans were reported dead there.

``It’s all like a nightmare so far. It probably will be until we get some closure and have services for him,″ said the elder Hobson, a sheriff’s deputy.

Kenneth R. Hobson 2nd, 27, joined the Army after he graduated from Nevada (Mo.) High School in 1989. He was assigned to the office of the U.S. Army defense attache in the embassy and worked as an administrative specialist, the Army said.

``He’s a natural artist,″ Hobson, 55, said quietly. ``I have a lot of pictures he’s painted.″

In South Bend, Ind., Dennis Bradley said his sister, Arlene Kirk, had just returned to Africa after six weeks in the United States visiting relatives. He said his sister and her husband, Robert, a project director for the State Department, had been in Kenya for about three years.

Mrs. Kirk had found a job as an accountant in the Air Force’s budget department about six months ago, Bradley said.

Bradley said he was happy his sister was able to spend time with their elderly parents in South Bend _ where she grew up _ before the deadly blast.

``She was a terrific mother and wife. She was just a very supportive person, whatever was happening. She was terrific. She was helping my parents, helping them however she could,″ he said.

The couple had three children. Their youngest, a girl, died from cancer at age 5 in 1992, Bradley said.

A native of Valdosta, Ga., Ms. Hardy had been waiting for almost two months to be relieved of her embassy duties there, her mother told The Valdosta Daily Times on Friday.

``She was fixing to come home,″ Jayne Huckaby said as family members gathered at her Valdosta home. ``She was supposed to be home June 15. She was waiting for someone else to come over to take her place.″

Ms. Hardy had worked for the State Department for 26 years in Brazil, Laos and other countries. She had told her mother she was returning to the United States to stay.

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