Charles P. Gaffney, Jr.
Corporal, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1044-08
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Corporal Charles P. Gaffney Jr., 42, of Phoenix, Arizona, died December 24, 2008, in Paktika, Afghanistan, when his combat outpost received enemy rocket fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
For more information media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at (270) 798-9966, or go to http://www.campbell.army.mil/eh/eaglehonors.htm.
30 December 2008:
Phoenix resident Corporal Charles P. Gaffney Jr., 42, died December 24, 2008, in Paktika, Afghanistan, after an enemy rocket attack.
The Department of Defense said Gaffney was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Family members said Monday they were dealing with the loss and did not wish to comment.
Gaffney entered the Army in August 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2007. An M4-rifle expert, he received several awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, a National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Survivors include his wife, Latticia Gaffney; daughters Cara and Mia; and father Charles Gaffney.
A memorial service for Gaffney will be held
in Afghanistan. He also will be remembered in an upcoming Fort Campbell
Eagle Remembrance Ceremony.
TUCSON, Arizona - A memorial service for a Phoenix, Arizona, soldier who died in a Christmas Eve rocket attack in Afghanistan will be held on Sunday.
Corporal Charles Gaffney, Jr. will be honored by family at his younger sister's gravesite in Tucson. The 43-year-old infantryman with the Army's 101st Airborne Division will be buried later at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gaffney's father says his son rejoined the Army several years ago because he wanted to protect "people's rights around the world." He had served in the Army in the mid-1980s and then returned to Tucson and worked in several auto repair shops before moving to Las Vegas and then Phoenix.
Charles Gaffney Sr. says his son told him when he reenlisted several years ago that he never wanted his daughters to be oppressed like many women are in Afghanistan. He says his son was an avid motorcyclist and raced in Germany when he was based there.
He's also survived his wife and two daughters, and by his mother, two sisters and a brother.
By L. Anne Newell
Courtesy of the Arizona Daily Star
1 January 2009
Before Corporal Charles P. Gaffney Jr. was a soldier bravely holding the line in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was a Tucsonan who loved riding his motorcycle up and down the Catalina Highway.
He was a mechanic at several Midtown auto shops.
He was a doting father to twin 4-year-old girls.
And he was a man who believed in fighting the good fight, making the world a safer place and helping the oppressed.
It's why the highly decorated soldier signed up again a few years ago, after an earlier tour in Iraq. He was then sent to Afghanistan, where enemy fire took his life on Christmas Eve.
The 42-year-old infantryman was in Paktika, Afghanistan, when his combat outpost came under enemy rocket fire, according to the Department of Defense press release on the attack.
Gaffney was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
He is the 38th service member with ties to Tucson and Southern Arizona to be claimed by the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gaffney was the seventh service member to be killed in 2008.
Gaffney and his family moved to Tucson in the late '70s, his father said Wednesday. Gaffney joined the Army in the mid-'80s. He served about six years, spending most of that time in Germany, and then returned to Tucson. He worked at several auto shops along Speedway that have since closed, his father said, and he moved to Las Vegas after a while and worked for a Porsche dealership there.
Meanwhile, his parents moved to Phoenix and Gaffney moved there, too, several years ago. That's when he decided he needed to serve his country again, Charles P. Gaffney Sr. said.
"I won't say I was upset he was going back,
but I didn't want him to," his father said. "He told me it was for people's
rights around the world, for them to say what they want to say without
other people beating them down. And he said he never wanted anyone to come
here to the United States and tell his daughters that they had to do things
a certain way.
Gaffney went to Iraq in 2006-07 and was part of security forces outside Baghdad, his father said. He joined up again and was sent to Afghanistan in October.
"He said, 'I'm going back again.' He said, 'It has to be taken care of.'"
Hank Savko, a family friend, also remembers the younger man talking about his resolve.
"He had said, 'I'm not doing it for myself. I'm doing it for the women of Afghanistan.' We kind of looked at him and said, 'Why?' He said the women of Afghanistan are so mistreated, they're not really people like we are in this country. He said, 'I'm doing it for them.'"
Gaffney earned numerous accolades for his service, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and two Global War on Terrorism Service Medals. He also was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, his father said, for his recent service.
"He was very decorated," his father said.
He talked to his son the day before he died, and Gaffney sent him a digital picture of himself in the field.
The two didn't talk about much else then, especially not the mission Gaffney was on that took him to the remote Afghan province that adjoins the border of Pakistan.
Gaffney Sr. also shied away from talking about specifics of what his son did, sharing instead memories of a man who loved his family, his country and the occasional adrenaline rush.
"We used to ride Mount Lemmon together," he
said. "Charles always told me I was too slow. The boy had no fear."
"He was an avid motorcycle enthusiast," his father said. "I won't say it was a passion, but at one time when he was in Germany he rode competitively."
Motorcycle riders will be a big part of Gaffney's local memorial service, too.
Gaffney will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, but his family will remember him first in Tucson on Sunday.
His youngest sister died several years ago and Gaffney, who'd been very close to her, had told his family he'd like to be buried next to her. While they decided the Arlington burial was an honor he truly deserved, they'll hold his local service where she's buried, at East Lawn Palms Cemetery. They'll proceed there from Phoenix with full escort from a number of veterans' groups, then get together afterward at an American Legion post.
In addition to his father, Gaffney is survived
by his mother, Fina; his wife, Latticia, and his twin daughters, Cara and
Mia, named for the Italian phrase cara mia, or my beloved. He also is survived
by a younger brother, Jason, a younger sister, Bethany, and an older sister,
Maryanne. He'll be memorialized next to the sister he lost, Catherine.
Full-Honors Ceremony for Afghanistan Casualty
By Mark Berman
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
On Christmas Eve, Army Corporal Charles P. Gaffney Jr., a decorated soldier from Phoenix, was killed in Afghanistan. Yesterday, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gaffney, 42, died in Paktika when his combat outpost came under enemy rocket fire, according to the Department of Defense.
An estimated three dozen mourners attended Gaffney's full-honors ceremony, which included a horse-drawn caisson, escort platoon, colors team, military band, firing party, casket team and bugler, according to cemetery spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst.
During the service, Brigadier General Ben Hodges presented flags to Gaffney's wife, Latticia; their twin daughters, Mia and Cara; and his father, Charles P. Gaffney Sr.
Gaffney was the 84th casualty from Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington. In all, 536 service members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are buried at Arlington.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Gaffney and his family moved to Tucson in the late 1970s, according to the Arizona Daily Star. He joined the Army in the mid-1980s and served most of his six years in Germany, before returning to Tucson and working at several auto shops. He moved to Las Vegas and then Phoenix before deciding to reenlist.
Gaffney, an infantryman, reentered the Army in August 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2007, according to the base's Web site. He had been awarded the Army Commendation Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
"I won't say I was upset he was going back, but I didn't want him to," Charles Gaffney Sr. told the Daily Star shortly after his son's death. "He told me it was for people's rights around the world, for them to say what they want to say without other people beating them down. And he said he never wanted anyone to come here to the United States and tell his daughters that they had to do things a certain way.
"And then I couldn't argue with him."
Gaffney talked about his son's love of family and country and his enthusiasm for motorcycles. "The boy had no fear," he said.
GAFFNEY, CHARLES P JR
Posted: 1 January 2009 Updated: 3 February 2009 Updated: 4 February 2009 Updated: 14 Juy 2009