Eric Matthew Kavanagh
Private, United States Army
No. 956-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Private Eric M. Kavanagh, 20, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, died of injuries suffered in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 20, 2006 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. Kavanagh was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.
For further information related to this release,
contact the 1st Infantry Division public affairs office at (785) 339-2253.
Private Eric. M. Kavanagh, 20, of Severna Park, Maryland, was killed last week while serving in Iraq, according to his family.
Private Kavanagh loved music and playing the guitar, said his family, speaking through the Barranco & Sons Severna Park Funeral Home. He was killed Wednesday, and details about his death were not available. The family declined to speak to reporters.
Raised in Severna Park, he attended Folger McKinsey Elementary School, Severna Park Middle School and Chesapeake High School. Later, he worked at the Maryland Pennysaver then enlisted in the Army.
"He was a great kid," said Severna Park neighbor Diana Wilson, whose son, Kyle, was a childhood friend of Private Kavanagh's. Her son was "devastated" to learn of his death, she said.
The pair used to spend summers playing video games or crabbing by the pier behind Private Kavanagh's house, which backs up to Old Man Creek off the Magothy River, she said.
"He was kind of silly and funny," said Wilson. "He and Kyle had a good time together."
Judith Reid, who lives a few doors down from the Kavanaghs, said she remembered how excited Private Kavanagh seemed when she saw him during one of his morning jogs, shortly before he left for the Army last year.
"I had the impression that he was happy that he had such a job to do," she said. "He was very handsome, and he was always smiling as far as I saw. He looked every bit a soldier that morning when I saw him for the last time -- fit and ready to give himself."
Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Barranco & Sons Severna Park Funeral Home, 495 Ritchie Highway. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Private Kavanagh was the fourth member of the military from Maryland to be killed in Iraq in the past two weeks.
On September 12, 2006, Second Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez, 23, of Fort Washington in Prince George's County was killed while on duty in Al Kifl. Her funeral was yesterday.
Navy Petty Officer David Sean Roddy, 32, a Harford County native, died September 16, 2006, while attempting to disarm a roadside bomb near Hadisa in Al Anbar province.
Army Sergeant David J. Davis, 32, of Lisbon
died September 17, 2006, in Baghdad of injuries suffered when an
improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations
in Sadr City.
Private Eric Kavanagh, 20, died on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. Iraq time.
Details on where and how he was killed were not released by the Department of Defense as of last night. A DOD spokesman said more details would be made public after all required notifications have been made.
Family members last night referred media inquiries to the funeral home, which put out a brief biography.
Private Kavanagh belonged to the Blue Spaders, the 1st Division's 26th Infantry Regiment, named for the blue spade that is the unit's insignia.
He was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Severna Park. He attended Folger McKinsey Elementary, Severna Park Middle School and Chesapeake High School.
He worked at the Maryland Pennysaver before entering the Army.
Information provided by a funeral home said he loved music and playing the guitar.
Tom Galvin, spokesman for the Blue Spaders, said the regiment has served in every major American conflict except the Korean War and all active duty members are in Iraq.
The family, according to Barranco & Sons Funeral Home, is showing support for troops in Iraq by asking that memorial contributions be sent to Jacob's Light Foundation in New York.
The foundation is a not-for-profit organization that sends care packages and letters to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was founded by the mother of Specialist Jacob Fletcher, who was killed in Iraq in November 2003.
Private Kavanagh is believed to be the fifth soldier with local ties to die in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan in the past three years.
Staff Sergeant Christopher Swanson, from Rose Haven, was killed July 22, 2006, in Iraq while leading a patrol. He was 25.
Marine Corporal Justin J. Watts, 20, was killed Jan 14, 2006 by non-hostile gunfire. He was from Crownsville and graduated from Old Mill High School in 2003.
Army Sergeant First Class James J. Stoddard Jr., from Crofton, was killed in Afghanistan on September 30. His Humvee overturned in a Ditch in Kandahar Province. He was 29.
Marine Cpl, Jason David Mileo was killed April 14, 2003 after he was mistaken for an enemy soldier in Iraq. From Centerville, he grew up in Pasadena and went to Chesapeake High School. He, like Private Kavanagh, was 20.
Private Kavanagh is survived by his father, Kevin Kavanagh, brother Patrick Kavanagh, sister Alanna Kavanagh, all from Severna Park, and his mother Rhonda Kavanagh, from Glen Burnie.
His grandmother, Shirley Kerns, is from Glen Burnie, and his grandfather, Keith Morris, is from Stockbridge, Georgia.
Visitation is Tuesday at Barranco and Sons Funeral Home in Severna Park from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Services will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Private Kavanagh will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in the name of Private
Eric M. Kavanagh may be made to Jacob's Light Foundation, 116 Nadia Court,
Port Jefferson, New York 11777.
He loved music and playing the guitar, but military service is where Eric Matthew Kavanagh found his calling, family and friends said.
"Behind that happy, huggy, gentle guitar player, there was grit and determination," said the Rev. Dr. W. Terry Schoener of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park. Mr. Schoener recalled how, even before he went to basic training, he started running and working out, readying himself for boot camp.
Wednesday, friends, family and neighbors mourned the loss of the 20-year-old Army private and Severna Park native who was killed in Baghdad last week.
According to the Defense Department, Private Kavanagh died September 20, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his purpose vehicle during combat operations. He was the fourth member of the military from Maryland to be killed in Iraq over the past two weeks.
During a short but somber service Wednesday at Woods Memorial, Private Kavanagh's uncle read a letter written by his father, Kevin Kavanagh, who called his son a "gentle soul."
He "always had a smile on his face, a smile so strong it beamed with love, enthusiasm and compassion," the letter said. "My son Eric is a hero, but to each of us, he is so much more. He joined the Army an enthusiastic boy and became a confident man."
Private Kavanagh attended Folger McKinsey Elementary School, Severna Park Middle School and Chesapeake High School.
"He wasn't exactly the school-type," said Jessica Studnicky, 20, a former neighbor and friend. "But he was very clever and quick-witted."
"He was a dreamer," added Rich Chrisman, who knew Private Kavanagh in elementary and middle school.
Ms. Studnicky said she heard about Private Kavanagh's death Sunday, then went online to find former classmates, who reunited Wednesday at the service.
Ms. Studnicky and her mother, Michelle Studnicky, recalled when Private Kavanagh came over and helped them remove a three-inch blanket of leaves from their yard as they prepared for Halloween.
"He was just that kind of guy," Michelle Studnicky said.
Several of Private Kavanagh's friends said they lost touch with him after middle school. He worked at the Maryland Pennysaver for a while, but wasn't satisfied with working 9 to 5. He obtained his GED, then enlisted, serving in the Army's 26th Infantry of the 1st Division Blue Spaders.
Jessica Studnicky said the last time she saw Private Kavanagh, he still had long hair. It was two years ago, and he had ridden his bike to her house to tell her that he'd just enlisted.
"It wasn't fair," she said Wednesday of his death.
Private Kavanagh was buried at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday afternoon.
Besides his father, who lives in Severna Park,
Private Kavanagh is survived by his mother, Rhonda Kavanagh of Glen Burnie;
a brother, Patrick Kavanagh of Severna Park; a sister, Alanna Kavanagh
of Severna Park; and his grandparents, Shirley Kerns of Glen Burnie and
Keith Morris of Stockbridge, Georgia.
Photo Courtesy of Holly, October 2006
Photo Courtesy of Holly, November 2006