Monday, May 30, 2011
Eggers' wife, Capt. Rebecca L. Eggers, who was unable to attend the ceremony, said the two things people will remember most about her spouse are his "insane sense of humor and the fact that he treated everyone equally, both in his personal life and his professional life."
"He reached out to those less fortunate without making them feel embarrassed by their situation," Mrs. Eggers said in an e-mail from her office at Fort Bragg, N.C., where she is serving at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
"He was humbled by the handicapped," she continued. "He was an extremely spiritual person that let his faith guide him."
Also killed that day with Eggers were Sgt. 1st Class Robert J. Mogensen, Spc. Joseph A. Jeffries and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Brian J. Ouellette.
The four men were fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device while returning to their base as they tried to avoid another IED in the road.
Eggers' former neighbor, Jeffrey Weber of Manhattan, Kan., said in an e-mail posted on the Fallen Heroes Memorial Web site, "I am proud to have grown up next door to Daniel Eggers. I have received the deepest inspiration from his example. I am a better person today because of my proximity to such a selfless hero."
Kris Mitchell of Columbus, Ga., went to school with Eggers and was a sophomore while he was a junior at The Citadel Military College in South Carolina.
"As a cadet, I knew him from ROTC; as a lieutenant, I knew him as a 'Cottonbaler.' I also knew him as a friend – admired and respected by all," he wrote in another e-mail posted on the Web site.
"I was proud to see him in his Green Beret, it was him. At the 2003 homecoming, I asked him about Special Forces and how he liked it. He told me that it was the best place for him and he loved it! Dan was a great man! I am honored to know him."
Brian Ouellette of Uxbridge, Mass., a brother of Michael Ouellette, wrote in another e-mail, "My brother was surrounded with the best of the best."
Mrs. Eggers said she and her husband came into the military in 1997, and being half of a dual-military couple was much like being half of any dual-income family.
"You learn to split everything, to include cooking dinner, picking up the children and doing the housework," she wrote in the e-mail.
"Since we both worked the same amount of time, there was never an expectation that one of us would pull more of the load at home.
"We were extremely lucky in that, while we were in school, we were able to be stationed together fairly easily. And, until Dan became SF, he hadn't been on a deployment for more than 30 days."
Mrs. Eggers went on to say they were fortunate in that they didn't have to leave their two children, John Joseph Eggers, 6, and William Howard Eggers, 4, at the same time, "something that happens more and more often now."
"So, for us having two military members in the same family was not nearly as difficult as I know some people's situations are," she wrote. "He was a wonderful husband and father, and we miss him dearly."
Lt. Col. Garnet R. Derby, commander of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, was killed Monday in a suicide car bomb attack in northern Iraq that also killed three of his soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter.
Derby, 44, of Missoula, Mont., was the 19th Army lieutenant colonel killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war and is believed to be one of only three battalion commanders killed by hostile fire in that war. The other soldiers killed in the attack were Sgt. Joshua A. Ward, 30, of Scottsville, Ky.; Pfc. Albert R. Jex, 23, of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Pfc. Jonathan R. Roberge, 22, of Leominster, Mass.
Derby, who went by the name Gary, and his soldiers were on their way to a combat operating outpost in a western Mosul neighborhood about 11 a.m. Monday when his Humvee was hit by the suicide car bomber, Army officials said."We honor Lt. Col. Derby and the members of his PSD who made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom for not only the people of Iraq but for the lives of our citizens in America as well," Col. Gary Volesky, commander of 3rd BCT, 1st Cavalry, said during the service, according to information from Multi-National Division-North. "Of all the soldiers I have known and lost during my time in the Army, I have never lost a closer friend than Gary Derby."
Derby enlisted in 1985 as a cavalry scout in the Montana National Guard and was commissioned as an armor officer in 1989, according to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry's Web site. He has served as a tank platoon leader, company executive officer and battalion maintenance officer with 3rd Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, in Schweinfurt, Germany; operations officer of the Sacramento Recruiting Battalion in California; company commander with 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Ga.; and as a staff trainer at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
After attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Derby was assigned to 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, at Fort Hood, where he served as a battalion S-3 when the unit deployed to Baqubah, Iraq, from 2003 to 2004, and later as the brigade's executive officer, from 2004 to 2005. From 2005 to 2006 he served as the 4th ID and Multi-National Division-Baghdad chief of operations in Baghdad, and his most recent assignment was as the deputy chief of staff of 4th ID.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leak clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service medals, and the Combat Action Badge. He also had the Order of Saint George and Order of Saint Maurice bronze medallions and the covenant Tarantula Belt Buckle #358.
Capt. Josh Byers was killed July 23 when a homemade bomb was placed under his Humvee outside Ramadi, Iraq.
"We lost one of our best and brightest last week and the world is now a darker place," Lt. Dan Lawrence, who served with Byers, said at a memorial service at Fort Carson.
About 600 soldiers — some back because of combat injuries — wives of troops still in Iraq and others crammed Soldier's Memorial Chapel.
They told stories about how he could make people laugh in the toughest times. How he once pulled on red, white and blue boxer shorts and wrapped a Kuwaiti flag around his shoulders like a cape and struck a pose.
"He proceeded to stand by for photos," said Staff Sgt. Sean Watson, who witnessed the morale-boosting antics.
Others recalled heroic acts, including his tiptoeing into a minefield to rescue children who had ventured there in search of firewood and pushing a fellow captain behind a wall as shrapnel poured down on them.
"Afterward, he said he didn't remember doing it," said Capt. Jesse Sellars, Byers' best friend. "He was the finest among all of us."
Byers, a 1996 West Point graduate, commanded Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
He was married to Kim Byers and was the son of Baptist missionaries Lloyd and Mary Byers and himself was a Southern Baptist lay leader. His parents are director of missions for the Guam Baptist Association. Lloyd Byers earlier served as a pastor in Sparks, Nev., Mountville, S.C., and Mt. Airy, Ga.
Byers attended high school in Sparks, Nev.