Death of Ciara Durkin

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Ciara M. Durkin
Born (1977-07-06)July 6, 1977
Eanach Mheáin, County Galway, Ireland
Died September 28, 2007(2007-09-28) (aged 30)
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 2005–2007
Rank Army-USA-OR-04b-2015.svg Specialist
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan 

Ciara M. Durkin (July 6, 1977 – September 28, 2007), was an Irish-American soldier with the Massachusetts National Guard who died while deployed in Afghanistan. A U.S. Army investigation ruled the death a suicide but the family disputes this.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Durkin, one of nine siblings, was born on the island of Eanach Mheáin, near County Galway, Ireland. Her mother, Angela (née Cloherty), is a native of the island, and her father, Tommy, was a native of Tourmakeady, County Mayo. Following her father's retirement as a teacher, the family emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1986, where her father died [clarification needed] a few months later, aged 55. She returned to Ireland to attend school, returning to the Boston area in her mid-teens. She was a 1996 graduate of Fontbonne Academy, Milton, and joined the Army National Guard in October 2005 after getting laid off from her information technology job at Fenway Health, her family told the Quincy, Massachusetts-based Patriot Ledger.[2]


Details of her last days[edit]

Durkin died in a secure area[3] at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan of a single gunshot wound to the head, and the Army has confirmed that Durkin's death was "non-combat related".[4]

According to reports, [clarification needed] she told her family she had uncovered information that "would upset other military officials". According to one of Durkin's sisters[which?], "[S]he [Ciara] was in the finance unit and she said, I discovered some things I don't like and I made some enemies because of it. Then she said, in her light-hearted way, If anything happens to me, you guys make sure it gets investigated."[5] An e-mail she had sent to friends in June 2007 claimed a fellow soldier had pulled a 9mm gun on her.[6]

After her death a number of scandals involving Afghan arms sales and high level officials surfaced.[7]

Congressional involvement[edit]

U.S. Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and US Representative William Delahunt pressed for answers.[8]

Kerry urged Robert M. Gates, US Defense Secretary, "to deploy your staff on this matter immediately, so that the answers and circumstances around Specialist Durkin's death are uncovered, expeditiously and thoroughly."[9]

Personal life[edit]

Of her family, her mother, and four siblings live in Boston, while two brothers live in New York City. Another sister and brother live in Eanach Mheáin, while another sister, lives in Buncrana, County Donegal. A lesbian,[10] she and her brother Pierce were active members of the Boston gay community. Family members said Ciara was planning to marry her longtime girlfriend, Haidee Loreto, following the end of her tour of duty in Afghanistan. Her ashes were brought to Galway on October 13, 2007, and buried with the remains of her father in Lettermore.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Army rules soldier from Mass. killed self",, June 25, 2008; accessed April 23, 2014.
  2. ^ Notice of death of Specialist Ciara Durkin,; accessed April 23, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mystery surrounds death of soldier: Quincy woman is called a noncombat casualty". 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  4. ^ "Homicide is not ruled out in Quincy GI's death",; October 4, 2007; accessed April 23, 2014.
  5. ^ "Soldier once warned family: 'Investigate if I die'",; October 4, 2007; accessed April 23, 2014.
  6. ^ Gay Soldier Murdered in Afghanistan? Military Rules It was Suicide Archived June 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ US diplomat helped 'hide' illegal arms,; accessed April 23, 2014.
  8. ^ "How Did Specialist Ciara Durkin Die?", October 4, 2007; accessed April 23, 2014.
  9. ^ "Kin say soldier hinted at concerns: Senators, Delahunt ask for Defense Department probe",; accessed April 23, 2014.
  10. ^ Obituary,, October 9, 2007; accessed June 30, 2016.

External links[edit]