Daniel William Eggers – Captain, United States Army

No. 522-04

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 29,2004, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when their vehicle hit a land mine.  Killed were:

Captain Daniel W. Eggers, 28, of Cape Coral, Florida.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Sergeant First Class Sergeant Robert J. Mogensen, 26, of Leesville, Louisiana.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Private First Class Joseph A. Jeffries, 21, of Beaverton, Oregon  He was assigned to the Army Reserve’s 329th Psychological Operations Company, Portland, Oregon.

The incident is under investigation.

For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.


By Kathy Cleveland
Courtsy of the Hollis Brookline Journal
June 4, 2004

Daniel Eggers was a fearless soldier who died in the way he would have wanted to die — as a soldier in the service of his country — say relatives of the 28-year-old Army Captain who was killed in Afghanistan Saturday.

Daniel, who lived in Hollis from 1978 until 1987, was a Captain in the U.S. Army’s Special Forces and the son of former Milford Police Lieutenant, William Eggers, who retired from the department in 1987.

News reports say Eggers, two other soldiers and a Navy veteran were riding in a Humvee when it hit a land mine near Kandahar.

“He knew the danger. He wasn’t afraid of anything,” said Eggers’ grandfather, Francis Donovan of New Boston.

Daniel was the oldest of William and Margaret Eggers’ seven children. He was a graduate of The Citadel military college and fluent in Arabic.

“He was a real hero. He took all the missions he was given,” said his aunt Dorothy D’Vann of New Boston, who remembers her nephew as “outgoing, happy, and thoughtful.”

D’Vann said she gave Daniel a Desert Storm uniform when he was 16 and he practiced drills outside his family’s house in Coral Gables, Florida, where Daniel’s parents now live.

Daniel came from a military family, and his father served in Vietnam. Donovan, his grandfather, laid under-ocean cables from Greenland to Puerto Rico during World War II, and his uncle was a guard for General Dwight Eisenhower during World War II. His great-grandfather was part of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish American War, said Donovan.

“He always interested in the military, since he was 10 years old. He had seen so many home movies and photos,” said Daniel’s aunt.

One of Daniel’s brothers, Billy Eggers, is also in the Army and will return to Baghdad after a couple weeks, she said.

A devout Catholic, Daniel Eggers carried rosary beads in his pocket, said D’Vann, and attended a Catholic school in Massachusetts after leaving the Hollis school system in the fifth grade. The family lived in Hollis while William Eggers spent 10 years with the Milford Police Department.

This was Daniel’s second tour of duty in Afghanistan, and he came back to the U.S. for a visit in March and deployed again in April, said D’Vann. She said her nephew wrote a letter to his mother recently saying he was grateful to his parents.

“We had misgivings,” she said.

Daniel Eggers will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery this week. He leaves his wife, Rebecca, also an Army Captain, and two sons, ages 3 and 5, who live in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Circle complete for Cape family

Bush gives thanks for their son’s sacrifice

It was always Captain Daniel Eggers’ mission to meet people all over the world.

So when the Cape Coral family of the late Green Beret met President Bush on Wednesday, it felt like Danny’s life had come full circle, his father said.

“This kind of fulfilled Danny’s dream,” William Eggers said. “He wanted to do everything. He wanted to meet everybody.”

At the President’s invitation, eight members of the Eggers family drove to Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base on Wednesday and attended Bush’s speech in an airplane hangar. Afterward, the Eggerses and nine other families went to a nearby conference room to meet with Bush, who spent time with each family.

All the families had lost a relative during military service, said Daniel’s mother, Margaret Eggers.

Daniel Eggers, 28, died May 29, 2004, when his Humvee entered a mine field in Afghanistan.

The families — 37 people in all — met with Bush for about an hour, said Major John Howard, chief of the Wartime Casualty Branch at MacDill. “There was a lot of hugging, crying and, when appropriate, laughing,” Howard said. “He expressed his gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice of their loved ones.”

The Eggerses said they found Bush to be charming and compassionate, and they said he even cried while talking to them.

Bush posed for photos and signed a military-issue hat that Daniel’s brother, Billy, will wear when he goes back to Iraq in a few months. Billy already served one tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

At the request of Margaret Eggers, Bush also posed with a NYPD baseball cap Daniel wore during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. Then he signed a photo of Daniel wearing the same hat. He wrote, ‘‘To a great American family. God bless you all.”

“That hat has all of Danny’s blood, sweat and tears and Afghani dust on it,” said sister Maris Eggers, a Cape police officer.

Billy Eggers, 22, said he was thrilled to meet the President.

“Certainly, I wish it were under different circumstances,” he said. “But it’s not every day that someone gets to meet the President.”

The funeral for Daniel Eggers is scheduled for Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.

Cape grad buried in Arlington

Captain Daniel Eggers was killed May 29, 2004, in Afghanistan

By Larry Wheeler
Courtesy of the Gannett News ServiceIt wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

Captain Daniel Eggers — Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina — had it all going for him.

The 28-year-old Cape Coral High School graduate, who conquered The Citadel and went on to join the Green Berets, had a lovely wife, two rambunctious sons and a brilliant future ahead of him.

Eggers’ dreams of advancement in the Army ended May 29, 2004, when his vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

His widow, Rebecca; the couple’s sons, William and John; and Eggers’ parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters gathered at a solemn funeral Tuesday morning with at least 70 other relatives and friends in a clearing at Arlington National Cemetery.

“He loved the Army so much,” said Margaret Eggers, fighting to hold back tears. “This is very fitting.”

Six dark horses slowly pulled a black wooden caisson and its flag-draped casket down Eisenhower Drive then wheeled right on to York Drive.

A lone drummer tapped time, the solemn notes muffled by two rows of tall oak trees. The casket team, wearing ceremonial dress blues, brought Eggers’ remains forward and placed the heavy coffin on a chrome frame.

A soft breeze kicked up and the sun ducked behind some clouds as an Army chaplain recited a verse from the Bible. The roar of an airplane landing at nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport faded, then gave way to the sound of chirping birds.

The sun came out again, warming the air as Eggers’ family and friends said their silent goodbyes.

At 10 a.m., the seven-member firing party fired three shots into the air and a bugler standing behind tidy rows of white marble headstones blew taps.

The ceremonial unit of the U.S. Army Band — known as “Pershing’s Own” — struck up the familiar strains of “America the Beautiful” as the casket team carefully folded the American flag into a tight blue triangle.

Rebecca Eggers, an Army captain stationed at Fort Bragg, dabbed tears from her face before accepting the flag from Lieutenant General Gen. Philip Kesinger Jr., Commanding General of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

When the presentations and condolences had ended, a bagpiper from the Citadel stepped from behind a fir tree and played “Amazing Grace.”

Eggers was buried next to a small, freshly planted holly tree in a section of Arlington National Cemetery where many of the U.S. casualties from Afghanistan and Iraq have come home to rest.

Just two plots away is the grave of Sergeant First Class Robert Mogensen of Leesville, Louisiana, who was killed with Eggers and two other soldiers as they returned to their base near Kandahar.

“This is tough, but you deal with it,” said Colonel Rich Dixon, who traveled from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to attend the funeral.

Dixon met Eggers at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and immediately recognized something special in the young man.

“I made him my logistics officer as a First Lieutenant and that tells you he was a top officer because those boots are usually filled by a Captain,” Dixon said. “He was extremely competent and capable.”

Dixon and others joined the Eggers family after the funeral for a reception at Fort Myer, a military installation next to the cemetery.

Close friends occasionally chuckled while recalling Eggers’ well-known sense of humor.

Eggers was able to mimic a particular history professor at The Citadel, said Chris Price, a classmate who now lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

“He was always willing to make people laugh,” Price said.

On one occasion before a major history exam, Eggers, knowing the history professor was a fan of the Confederacy, wrote on the blackboard, “Gen. Sherman, Fire Marshall,” recalled Josh Blocker, a classmate now stationed at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.

But when it came to his career, Eggers was serious and motivated, according to Capt. James Alden, also with the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg.

Alden met Eggers when the two were at Fort Stewart, the Army’s premiere East Coast tank-training site.

As a quartermaster in charge of supplies, Alden was a notch below Eggers in the Army’s pecking order, but Alden said Eggers never acted arrogant.

“Dan had the knack of always treating everybody with respect,” Alden said. “He would treat a private the same as he would treat a colonel.”

Eventually the two men found themselves together for a month-long stint at the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

It was there that Alden witnessed Eggers’ skill at learning foreign languages and his drive to succeed.

“Dan had a sergeant in his section who could speak French, German, Russian, Spanish and a couple of other languages,” Alden said. “He would tell this sergeant, ‘Today, when we see each other we’re only going to speak French.’ And the next day they would speak German.”

Before their stint in California was over, Eggers could converse in those languages, Alden said.

A graduate of West Point, Alden said it was Eggers who inspired him to enter the Army Special Forces training to become a Green Beret.

“He was always looking to improve himself and he made me want to be a better person,” Alden said.

Rebecca Eggers spent much of the reception standing near the entrance to the small reception room cradling her infant nephew in her arms and chatting quietly with the soldiers who were part of her husband’s life. Her two sons played nearby.

Keeping their father’s memory alive will be important, she said.

“I spend a lot of time reminding them their daddy taught them certain things so they remember,” she said.

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