Michael Egan

Sergeant First Class,
U.S. Army

 

1st Squadron
104th Cavalry Regiment
28th Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: September 19, 2005
Buried at: Calvary Cemetery
                  Route 70 & Hampton Road
                  Cherry Hill NJ
Awards: Purple Heart


SERGEANT FIRST CLASS MICHAEL EGAN was killed in action while serving in Iraq on September 19, 2005. He had served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years, then re-enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard.


Camden Courier-Post - September 21, 2005

S.J. Soldier Killed in Iraq

By GEORGE CLARK
Courier-Post Staff

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan, 36, a 1987 graduate of Pennsauken High School, was one of four soldiers reported killed when their vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq, family members said.

Egan, who had a wife and 3-year-old daughter in New Castle, Del., was serving in an Army National Guard unit based in Philadelphia and had been deployed to Iraq for less than three months, his family said.

He was one of four soldiers killed when their vehicle exploded Monday. Although they were serving in the Army, the soldiers were attached to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, according to the Associated Press, quoting U.S. military officials.

The incident occurred near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi about 70 miles west of Baghdad, the Associated Press reported.

News of Egan's death came to Pennsauken shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday, Krista Egan said. His mother, Irene, who lives on Walnut Avenue, was on the telephone when an Army sergeant walked up to the door.

"My mother-in-law was talking on the telephone to Mike's wife, Maria, when he came," Krista Egan said. "Maria had just got the news. The Army sergeant told my mother-in-law it was his first time notifying a family."

Krista Egan, who is married to Egan's brother Patrick, 28, said her brother-in-law served in the Marine Corps for nine years, was a civilian for a year, then joined the National Guard.

As a Marine, Egan had been deployed previously to the Persian Gulf and served in Afghanistan, said John Green of Collingswood, Krista Egan's father.

"He was well-liked by everyone," Patrick Egan said.

"He was a very gentle person," said Anne Frentzen, an aunt from Beach Haven.

Egan worked for Alliance Electric, near Philadelphia International Airport, John Green said.

Egan and his wife and daughter lived in Pennsauken and Philadelphia until moving to New Castle, Del., less than a year ago, he said.

Egan is survived by his wife, Maria; a daughter, Samantha; his mother, Irene; and two brothers, Tony and Patrick.


Camden Courier-Post - September 22, 2005

Mother Told G.I. Of Prayers

By JASON LAUGHLIN

Hours before leaving for his last patrol in Iraq, Pennsauken native Sgt. Michael Egan spoke to his mother, Irene, by telephone.

The mother told her son everyone in the States was praying for him, recalled family friend Mary Ellen Stewart. He responded that that's why he hadn't been given any dangerous assignments, Stewart said.

On Wednesday, Irene Egan was in Delaware, awaiting the arrival of her son's body at Dover Air Force Base.

Once it arrives, the body should be released to the family within 48 hours for a funeral Mass in the Merchantville church Egan grew up in, St. Peter's, family friends said.

Egan died Monday about 11:30 a.m. when his patrol vehicle was bombed during a patrol in the Ar Ramadi, Al Anbar Province, the Pennsylvania National Guard reported. Three other men died in the explosion.

On Wednesday, while awaiting word from the Army, Egan's family gathered at the New Castle, Del., home that he and his wife, Maria, and 3-year-old daughter, Samantha, had recently moved to.

"She's devastated," Stewart said of Egan's mother. "But I would say she's one of the strongest people I know."

Family was of the highest importance to Egan. John Green, father of Egan's sister-in-law, remembered Egan's send-off in June where he spent a lot of time playing with his nieces and nephews.

"We had a party, a Father's Day party, going-away party and daughter's birthday party all wrapped up in one," Green said. "He was great; the thing of it is he loves kids."

Egan was positive at the party. No one spoke of the danger he was traveling to in Iraq, Green said.

"You don't really talk about it," he said. "It's unspoken. Everybody knows."

Egan had already been to war before being called to serve in Iraq. He served in the Persian Gulf War as a Marine, Green said. After nine years in the Marines, Egan left but returned to the armed services after a year as a civilian. He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard about four years ago, Green said.

Egan's zeal for serving his country came from his father, friends said. Tony Egan served in the military, and Michael Egan idolized his father, who died about 14 years ago of cancer, Stewart said.

"I think he respected and loved his dad so much I think he wanted to follow in his footsteps," she said. "And I think he was very patriotic."

Green agreed.

"He wanted to serve his country," Green said about Egan's feelings on going to Iraq. "If that's what he had to do, that's what he had to do."

Egan attended Camden Catholic High School for two years but finished school at Pennsauken High School, graduating in 1987.

"He was a terrific kid, fabulous personality," said Arlene B. Rubin, vice principal.

"He was witty. He lit up a classroom. He came in the room and his personality was just golden."

Egan held a number of jobs outside of his career with the Marines. One brought him to the Pennsauken Mart, where he met his wife, Maria, who was running a candle shop, Green said.

Egan began training for his tour in Iraq about a year ago in Connecticut, Mississippi and California, Green said. The training took him away from a job he had begun only a year ago with a Philadelphia company, Rockwell Automation, at its Philadelphia office, Reliance Electric Service Center. He repaired generators. Before that he worked at Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard, Green said.

Egan is also survived by two brothers, Tony and Patrick. 


Camden Courier-Post - September 22, 2005

Egan Deserves Thanks For His Brave Service

It's important we don't forget that, every day, American soldiers continue to give their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With hurricanes, Supreme Court nominations and other events going on, the war in Iraq may not be on Americans' minds as much as it once was.

Yet it's important to remember that we lose more of the dedicated men and women who bravely serve our nation virtually every day in Iraq.

That became even more apparent Monday, when South Jersey lost another of its military heroes -- Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan, 36, a 1987 graduate of Pennsauken High School.

Egan is the 16th serviceman with ties to South Jersey to die fighting terrorism in Iraq or Afghanistan. Of those 16, 13 were killed in Iraq.

Altogether, our nation has lost 1,905 soldiers and seen another 14,362 wounded in Iraq since the war began in the spring of 2003, according to CNN.com. Another 195 coalition troops have been killed in Iraq. In Afghanistan, 233 Americans have been killed.

Whatever your personal or political feelings are about the war in Iraq, these servicemen and servicewomen deserve to be honored by all of us. Those who give their lives deserve to be remembered for making the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

Egan was one of four soldiers killed when a roadside bomb blew up the vehicle he was traveling in near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi.

The Pennsauken native served in an Army National Guard unit based in Philadelphia and had previously been in the Marine Corps. Before this current tour in Iraq, Egan had served in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. He had been in Iraq for about three months.

"He was well liked by everyone," Patrick Egan said of his brother.

"He was a very gentle person," said Anne Frentzen, an aunt from Beach Haven.

Egan and his wife, Maria, and 3-year-old daughter, Samantha, had lived in Pennsauken and Philadelphia before moving to New Castle, Del., less than a year ago.

Besides his wife and daughter, Egan is survived by his mother, Irene, of Pennsauken, and two brothers, Tony and Patrick.

All of us owe a debt to Egan and the more than 1,900 others who bravely volunteered to serve the United States and gave their lives in that service fighting the war against terrorists in Iraq.

In spite of everything happening in the United States, we must not forget that more than 100,000 Americans still are risking their lives every day in an attempt to ensure a peaceful Iraq. 


Newark Star-Ledger - September 22, 2005

 Jersey-born Guardsman Killed in Iraq

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan, a South Jersey native serving in Iraq, last spoke to his mother on Sunday.

In a 45-minute phone call, the Army National Guard soldier told his mother, Irene Egan of Pennsauken, about his job clearing roadside bombs planted by insurgents, and about his plans for the future.

"She said it was the nicest conversation, talking about when they were going to get home," said Irene Egan's sister, Anne Frentzen of Beach Haven. "Then he said to her, 'I've got to hang up. I'm going to take a nap, and then get back to work.' That's what she's going to remember."

The following day, on Monday, Egan and three other soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, military officials said. He leaves a wife and 3-year-old daughter.

The four -- Egan, 36, and two other members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, plus a fourth serviceman from Vermont -- died in two separate explosions in Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad.

"They were out there looking for these bombs these people were putting on the roads," Frentzen said. "They were looking for these insurgents, to protect the Iraqi people."

A 1987 graduate of Pennsauken High School in Camden County, Egan served in the Marine Corps from 1990 to 1999, Frentzen said.

After he got out of the Marines, Egan was employed by Alliance Electric, located near the Philadelphia International Airport.

Egan and his wife, Maria, lived in New Castle, Del., with their daughter, Samantha. At work, Egan kept pictures of his wife and daughter in his toolbox, his aunt said.

Egan joined the Pennsylvania National Guard about two years ago. Part of the reason for joining was the extra money. "A lot of it was the camaraderie," Frentzen said.

Shortly before Christmas last year, he got word that he would be sent to Iraq, his aunt said. He trained for several months out of state, and was sent to Iraq in July, his aunt said.

Egan was scheduled to return stateside for two weeks in October, and his tour of duty was to end in the middle of next year, she added.

His wife was notified of Egan's death early Tuesday, and word spread quickly to the rest of his family, Frentzen said.

The other soldiers, both members of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, were identified as Spc. William Evans, 22, of Hallstead, Susquehanna County, and Spc. William Fernandez, 37, of Reading. Also killed was Lt. Mark Dooley of the Vermont National Guard.

Evans, Fernandez and Dooley were riding in an armored Humvee when they spotted insurgents; they went to investigate and were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated nearby, officials said.

Egan was riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when he was killed a few hours earlier in a similar incident in the same area. 


Camden Courier-Post - September 27, 2005

Friends Pay Respects to Slain Soldier
By BILL DUHART

Friends of Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan told a similar story over and over Monday evening as they waited in line to pay their final respects.

They spoke about the moment they heard Egan had been killed in Iraq.

"I had just got done work. I went home and took a nap and, when I woke up, the first thing I saw was Michael's picture on the news," said Sam Crossley, a childhood friend.

Crossley, 39, a boilermaker from Quakertown, Pa., said he hadn't seen Egan in years.

But he said he would have driven for hours to pay his respects.

"It's a shame to see everybody this way," he said.

Egan, 36, and three other soldiers were killed Sept. 19 by a roadside bomb near Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Egan, a 1987 graduate of Pennsauken High School who had recently moved to New Castle, Del., had served in the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s as a Marine.

He left the military after nine years as a Marine but rejoined after one year as a civilian.

He had been in Iraq for about three months.

"It's just sad he's gone," said Stephen Ball, 29, a Delaware real estate agent who sold Egan and his wife, Maria, a home in November.

Family friend Brian Quaintance, 52, a steamfitter from Blackwood, said he had known Egan and his parents for years.

When asked how he'll remember him, Quaintance said: "His sacrifice is what will stick with me."


Camden Courier-Post - September 28, 2005

Army Staff Sergeant Ronnie Butts of the Pennsylvania National Guard is comforted by fiance Gail Howard at Sergeant First Class Michael Egan's burial in Cherry Hill Tuesday.


Camden Courier-Post - September 28, 2005
Soldier Given Hero's Burial
Michael Egan, A Native of Pennsauken, Died in Iraq

By THOMAS J. WALSH

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Egan, a Pennsauken native killed in Iraq last week, was laid to rest Tuesday, after a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Peter's Catholic Church here.

About 200 people packed the church amid the tolling of bells and the mournful cry of bagpipes. Six Army National Guardsmen from Egan's unit served as pallbearers.

Egan, 36, was a 1987 graduate of Pennsauken High School. He attended grade school at St. Peter's, where he was an altar boy.

"We know how broken your hearts are," Father Anthony Manuppella, the pastor of St. Peter's, told Egan's grieving family. "We are here to console you.

"He gave his life for our country. He gave his life for the cause of freedom. He indeed was a great patriot."

Egan was a member of the 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, a unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard based in Philadelphia. On Sept. 19, he was one of four soldiers killed when a roadside bomb destroyed the vehicle in which they were traveling. The incident happened in Ramadi, a town 70 miles west of Baghdad that is rife with insurgent activity.

Egan served in the Marine Corps for nine years before joining the National Guard in 2003. He was a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and a recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among numerous other military awards.

Manuppella drew a link between Egan's service and his faith, quoting Gen. Douglas MacArthur: "The soldier, above all other men, is required to perform the highest act of religious teaching -- sacrifice."

Burial followed the Mass at Calvary Cemetery on Route 38 in Cherry Hill. Local police escorted the funeral procession and temporarily closed roads.

Egan lived in New Castle, Del., with wife Maria and their 3-year-old daughter, Samantha. He is also survived by his mother, Irene Egan, and brothers Tony and Patrick.


Camden Courier-Post - September 28, 2005
Honors and Goodbyes for a Pennsauken Son

By TONI CALLAS
Inquirer Staff Writer

As church bells rang over the soft scratch of soldiers marching over marble steps, men of God and men of war gathered to celebrate the life of a soldier.

Pennsylvania National Guard Sgt. Michael Egan, killed Sept. 19 in Iraq, was laid to rest yesterday at St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Merchantville before hundreds of mourners.

By a gleaming white altar, priests sat in purple robes and said prayers over the remains of the 36-year-old Egan, who attended the parish school, was an altar boy in the church, and grew up nearby on the tree-lined streets of Pennsauken, where neighbors yesterday hung American flags in his honor.

In pews at the rear, uniformed soldiers - some of whom served with Egan - stood shoulder to shoulder, stern, tight and humbly asking for a place in heaven for their fallen comrade.

The Rev. Anthony J. Manuppella encouraged their request and welcomed them all - priests, soldiers, family and friends who had shown up to say goodbye to "a friend who laid down his life for a friend."

"The soldier is called to offer the highest act of worship for the salvation of his neighbors... and Michael offered that sacrifice when he gave his life for the cause of freedom," Manuppella said of the husband and father.

"But Michael is not dead, because the soul, breathed into him the moment he was conceived in the womb of his mother, is alive. So he lives."

Manuppella's words soothed, but did not stop the tears of Egan's wife, Maria; his mother, Irene; and brothers Danny, Tony and Patrick.

Egan, who lived in Delaware and was deployed to Iraq in June, was killed when an explosive device detonated near the humvee carrying him and two other soldiers. Assigned to Troop B of the First Squadron of the 104th Cavalry, headquartered in Philadelphia, he is among 14 Pennsylvania guardsmen killed in Iraq.

On Monday evening and yesterday morning, friends who had not seen one another in years reminisced and hugged outside the Inglesby & Sons Funeral Home in Pennsauken, while others who met for the first time found comfort in their connections to the mourning family.

Nicole Olafsen from Marlton was among them. She was a year behind Egan at Pennsauken High School. He graduated in 1987.

"We went to his junior prom," she recalled. "We all had mutual friends. I haven't seen him in five years. This is such a sad, horrible thing to hear about. He was fun-loving, sweet and always smiling. Just a general good guy."

Russ Gerbino of Cinnaminson was there, too. He had not met Egan, but knew of him through Egan's brother Patrick.

"The news puts this in our faces every day," Gerbino said as he walked away from the slow-moving crowd outside the funeral home. "But until you know someone or of someone who is there, you are numb to it. Now it will always hurt."

Pain was clearly in the heart of Army Staff Sgt. Ronnie Butts as he stood on the soft soil near Egan's flower-adorned gravesite at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill.

He and Egan served in Bosnia together. Egan was in the Marine Corps at the time. He had served in that branch for eight years before returning to service in the Guard in 2003. The two soldiers were friends for three years.

"He was a good man," the barrel-chested Butts said, flicking away tears as the silver coffin was lowered into the ground.

"He always put himself last."

PETER TOBIA / Inquirer
A goodbye to a Pennsylvania guardsman evokes a tear, shed by Staff Sgt. Ronnie Butts and brushed away by his fiancee, Gail Howard. They were attending the burial yesterday of Sgt. Michael Egan, a Pennsauken native and comrade of Butts' who was killed Sept. 19 in Iraq.

Camden Courier-Post - September 28, 2005

Maria Egan lays a flower on the casket of her husband, Sergeant First Class Michael Egan, who was killed September 19 in Iraq.


Camden Courier-Post - September 24, 2004

EGAN, MICHAEL ARMY SGT. 1ST CLASS
On September 19, 2005, in Iraq, age 36, of New Castle DE., formerly of Philadelphia and Pennsauken NJ. Beloved husband of Maria (nee Melekos) and dear father of Samantha. Beloved son of Irene and the late William Anthony Egan of Pennsauken. Dear brother of Tony (Wendy) Egan of Delran, Patrick (Krista) Egan of Oaklyn and the late Daniel. Also survived by his in laws Mr. & Mrs. Gus Melekos of Phila. Sgt. Egan was a Pennsauken High School graduate in 1987, currently serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard and a former 8 year Marine Corp Veteran, serving in the Persian Gulf.
Relatives and friends of the family are kindly invited to attend His Visitation Monday evening 6:30-9 PM and Tuesday 8:30-9:30 AM at the FUNERAL HOME OF INGLESBY & SONS, 2426 Cove Road, Pennsauken NJ. 08109. Mass of Christian Burial 10 AM Tuesday St. Peters Church, Maple Ave. Merchantville NJ 08109. Followed by Interment with Full Military Honors at Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill NJ. In lieu of flowers donations to the Samantha Egan Memorial Fund, C/O 6554 Walnut Ave. Pennsauken NJ 08109 preferred. Directions, condolences and expressions of sympathy at www.inglesbyfuneralhome. com


Camden Courier-Post - September 25, 2005

EGAN, MICHAEL ARMY SGT. 1ST CLASS
On September 19, 2005, in Iraq, age 36, of New Castle DE., formerly of Philadelphia and Pennsauken NJ. Beloved husband of Maria (nee Melekos) and dear father of Samantha. Beloved son of Irene and the late William Anthony Egan of Pennsauken. Dear brother of Tony (Wendy) Egan of Delran, Patrick (Krista) Egan of Oaklyn and the late Daniel. Also survived by his in laws Mr. & Mrs. Gus Melekos of Phila. Sgt. Egan was a Pennsauken High School graduate in 1987, currently serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard and a former 8 year Marine Corp Veteran, serving in the Persian Gulf.
Relatives and friends of the family are kindly invited to attend His Visitation Monday evening 6:30-9 PM and Tuesday 8:30-9:30 AM at the FUNERAL HOME OF INGLESBY & SONS, 2426 Cove Road, Pennsauken NJ. 08109. Mass of Christian Burial 10 AM Tuesday St. Peters Church, Maple Ave. Merchantville NJ 08109. Followed by Interment with Full Military Honors at Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill NJ. In lieu of flowers donations to the Samantha Egan Memorial Fund, C/O 6554 Walnut Ave. Pennsauken NJ 08109 preferred. Directions, condolences and expressions of sympathy at www.inglesbyfuneralhome. com.


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