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June 25, 2004
Rest In Peace, Captain Daniel Eggers

Posted by Bill

dan.jpg
(Picture courtesy of NBC2/WBBH-TV)

UPDATE: Pledge drive is closed. Further donations should go here.

THIS IS A POST FROM JUNE 2ND THAT HAS BEEN BUMPED TO TOP: Now all proceeds from the INDC Pledge Drive will Go directly to a trust fund set up for Dan's children. Please also read the post above, regarding Dan's funeral.

My high school friend Dan Eggers was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, after his HUMVEE drove over a landmine while he was serving as the leader of a team of Green Berets. Though it's been about 10 years since I spoke to Dan (I lost track of him after he went off to the Citadel), I wasn't surprised to hear that he'd become a successful member of the Special Forces Community ...

“He was a James Bond type of guy who had to infiltrate other people,” said father William Eggers. “We don’t really know what he was doing there.

“It was all confidential, and he kept it that way.”

... in retrospect, there were some early indications.

danielaf.jpg
Dan in Afghanistan (NBC2/WBBH-TV)

Like the time that he taught me to rappel off the back of the football stadium after school. He brought his gear, strapped me in, hooked me up and ran down to hold the safety lines, then yelled, "go, go, go!" I remember him looking at me with that wacky kidding/serious tone in his voice, saying matter-of-factly, "Ok Bill, this is the part that you have to do correctly, or you'll die." The football team practicing that afternoon just scratched their heads after watching a few guys drop off the back of the stadium. I was scared; he just loved it.

Or when Dan had the stones to lean in and sarcastically ask our gym teacher, "Like what you see?" after catching the guy inappropriately leering at girls that he insisted on helping "stretch out" before class. It turns out that Dan would show a much stronger brand of the same moral courage when he stood up against the hazing of female cadets during the first year of gender integration at the Citadel:

His uncompromising character pushed him to speak critically of the school he loved in 1997, recalled Craig Belsole, Eggers' best friend at The Citadel.

Eggers was a senior in 1997, during the first school year women were admitted after The Citadel dropped its all-male admissions policy. Eggers and Belsole appeared on "60 Minutes" that year and suggested top school officials covered up incidents of hazing against two female cadets.

Eggers and Belsole said they reported their concerns to an officer at the school but were told to keep quiet or lose their military commissions. School officials said at the time their commissions were threatened earlier for disciplinary problems that had nothing to do with the women.

If Dan reported it, I have no doubt that the allegations were true.

And another good indication of Dan's future vocation might have been when we were shooting fireworks off of a friend's roof and a neighbor that lived across a wide canal began yelling profanities at us because of the noise. Taking decisive action, Dan went downstairs, loaded a ziplock bag full of fireworks, put it in his teeth, dove into the canal and swam across to the neighbor's dock, where he climbed out and lit a four-inch pyre of firecrackers under the man's window as we looked on in amused disbelief. Needless to say, we didn't stick around for the police.

Whip-smart (later fluent in Arabic), tough, kind, and imbued with an extremely quirky, active sense of humor that put others at ease, I have no doubt that he represented America very well. It's a damn shame that he died, but I'm also certain that he died doing exactly what he loved to do, and I'm thankful that he gave everything to protect me from terror, especially given my current city of residence. I haven't seen Dan in 10 years, but I'll miss him all the same. He was a great guy. Thank you, Dan.

Dan leaves behind a wife and two children.


danieldad.jpg
Dan and his father (NBC2/WBBH-TV)

UPDATE: Another of Dan's high school friends pays tribute.

Posted by Bill at June 25, 2004 10:01 AM | TrackBack (14)

Comments

A very touching post, Bill. Sounds like Dan Eggers was the kind of guy we all want as a friend. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Posted by: Captain Ed at June 4, 2004 01:26 AM

He was a great guy, I wish I would have kept in touch over the years. He had this really weird sense of humor that was just a riot. Knowing him from high school, his personality kind of exemplified the description of SOF guys that they aren't stereotypical soldiers, rather thinking men ...

Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 4, 2004 01:29 AM

Thanks, Bill.

Thank you, Dan, for your sacrifice for me and mine.

Posted by: kobekko at June 4, 2004 01:39 AM

My condolences, Bill.

I consider Dan's sacrifice to have been personally in defense of me and my family.

Posted by: The Commissar at June 4, 2004 09:10 AM

Where do we get such men?

Posted by: Jon Henke at June 4, 2004 09:25 AM

I read stories like this and get all frozen inside. I have nothing to offer to these men or their families. The condolences I would send to them would ring hollow, as I have absolutely no experience like this in me. I have never lost a loved one in war, nor has my family. I haven't even lost my grandparents yet, and my sympathy would be another in a long line of people who say they are sorry, but recite it as rote and have no depth of empathy or meaning, just words to be parroted.

I read about men that thought enough of this country to risk their lives for it, no matter their motives, and left everything behind to serve. They are protecting my home and my wife and my children.

I want to do something. I want to make a difference like they did. I want to be able to say I am doing my part. While I sit at my computer desk each day and write code that mostly no-one will ever see, men and women are out making this world safe. While I complain because the drive-thru at the fast food joint took 2 minutes longer than I think it should have, men and women are plotting how to keep themselves and others they have never met before safe. What can I do in this world that would even come close to accomplishing what they have done.

I have thought about this for quite a while and have examined my own life and realized the following. I must do the best that I can do everyday, for if I do not, I am soiling the sacrifice that so many have made for me.

I must raise my children to respect the flag and honor those who are in service to us.
I must help them to become productive members of this nation and not produce victim-minded whiners for parade on the daytime talk shows.
I must take part in the lives of those around me, help where I can, be concerned with others more than myself.
I must love my wife with all my heart and show her by demonstration that faithfulness is not dead and neither is trust.
I must do my duty as an american and vote, and
I must do so intelligently, guided by logic and facts, not swung by emotion or temporary inconveniences.
I must show restraint in my appetites, men and women did not die for me to be a glutton.
I must remember, and teach my children to remember was has been laid down, so that it makes what we pick up that much more precious and sweeter.

In short, I must honor the best that they have given with the best that I can muster in every area, or I risk cheapening their memory.

It is too precious for that.

Thank you Captain Eggers. Thank you Eggers Family. I will not forget.

Posted by: Kaptin Marko at June 4, 2004 01:13 PM

He sounded like a wonderful representative of America.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Posted by: addison at June 4, 2004 02:19 PM

I don't even have words to express my gratitude in knowing that giants such as Daniel are braving the lion's den to protect us.

May he Rest in Peace knowing his life was not led in vain.

God Bless.

Posted by: Rtfm at June 4, 2004 08:44 PM

I knew Dan from high school (Hi Bill)... we were on the cross country team together sophmore and junior year... not the fastest guys on the team, but we both had a lot of determination... Dan was a really good kid... always very sharp... I heard the news on the radio coming through Tampa Monday and just didn't believe it... thought I must have heard it wrong... my heart goes out to his family... Dan is an hero to me... his sacrifice will not be forgotten... men like Dan keep us all free and it's our duty to honor their memory.

Posted by: Marty Bielecki at June 4, 2004 11:05 PM

Hi Bill, I was with you for the rapelling at Cape High. I never got a chance to actually go, though. Not at the stadium, and not at the park where the mid-point bridge now lies.

I wish I could have spent more time with you guys. I strayed from the group. It was high school. I had no idea what I was doing. Probably still don't, actually. But I have a family now, and I'm happy.

Hearing about Dan hurt. A lot. I wish there was something I could do for his family, since I know the pain that I feel is nothing compared to what it must be like for them.

I miss you, Dan.

Posted by: Micah Huston at June 6, 2004 03:21 PM

May God speed you home Capt. Eggers and may He give comfort to your family with the knowledge that your sacrifice was not in vain.
The Greatest Generation saved us in WW II. This Great Generation is saving us from an enemy just as evil and dangerous.
Thank you.

Posted by: Tim Walsh at June 6, 2004 11:19 PM

I also went to high school with Dan and it has made me unbeleivably sad to hear this news. He was a great guy, and we are all in his debt.

Posted by: Judith Figueroa at June 7, 2004 11:19 AM

Hey bill,

Thanks for posting and filling us in on his achievments since high school. I was truly saddened upon hearing the news. We, all the people who knew him in high school, are proud to have been confronted with greatness.

Thank you bill. And thank you dan. We will miss you.

Posted by: pj freebourn at June 7, 2004 01:28 PM

I read the post on this website and I listened to the words, everyone wants to do their part to help. One thing that everyone that enjoys the freedom at home can do to help families and children of fallen special operations soldiers is to donate to SOWF the special operations warrior foundation. This is a great organization and has helped many families of Special Operations Soldiers. The website is (www.specialops.org). This is a big thing that the ones here in the US can do even a small donation is doing something. I have no ties to this organization except, i am a Special ops soldier, who would like for my family to be helped if one day i dont come home. To all who reads this and donates Thank You from a special ops soldier.

Posted by: chris at June 8, 2004 02:05 PM

Thank you for posting this site. I will always remember Danny. I served with him in the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League back when he was in high school. Every one always looked up to him and wanted to mirror him. He was the type of guy that would just light up the room when he walked in. I remember when I was trying to pass a PT test and I felt like giving up but he wouldn’t let me, after finishing his own test and exhausted as he was, he ran with me until I completed every last step, even pushing me along to make sure I didn’t quit. Thanks to him I passed that PT test I wouldn’t have done it without him. He would always go out of his way to help someone. Danny was also awarded Young Marine of the year on the National Level. Whenever we went camping he always taught us about living off the land and survival skills he was like a walking encyclopedia of knowledge when it came to the outdoors. Even way back then Danny was in Young Marines he knew what he wanted to be. He always said he was going to be a Green Beret. There was never a doubt in my mind that he would accomplish it. Whatever he set out to do, he would accomplish it. I always thought he would make General one day. He had such a wonderful personality he was loved by all who knew him. I miss him deeply.

Posted by: Justin at June 8, 2004 11:27 PM

For those who are interested, the burial for CAPT Daniel Eggers will be on June 22, 2004 at 8:45 AM at the Fort Myer Old Post Chapel at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA. If you need directions, check www.pams.net/vince/directions_ftmyer.doc OR e-mail me at williameggers@sprintmail.com.

Posted by: William Eggers- Dad at June 18, 2004 08:47 PM


Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

-Tennyson

Rest in peace buddy...God Bless.

LT Josh Blocker, USCG
Citadel, Class of 1997

Posted by: LT Josh Blocker at June 23, 2004 09:18 AM

I'd like to take a second to thank all of you for your kind words of support and condolence. I've enjoyed reading about the memories you have shared with Danny. He hadn't changed. He was just as crazy, motivated and caring as you all remember. May God bless you and all your families and may you keep Danny's memories alive in your hearts.

Posted by: Rebecca Eggers at June 25, 2004 10:53 AM

I'm crying and I'm sorry and I'm grateful and I'll never forget his sacrifice or his family's loss.

Posted by: Jane at June 25, 2004 01:31 PM

I'm so sorry for his family's loss. Thank you Daniel for your sacrifice.

Donnah from N. Ft. Myers.

Posted by: Donnah at June 25, 2004 01:54 PM

I too am sorry for his family's loss. I never met him (that I know of) but after reading this, I miss him.

Kathy -- from Cape Coral

Posted by: Kathy K at June 25, 2004 04:45 PM

My heartfelt condolences to the Egger family in their time of loss.

Dan, may you meet up with my father and regale each other with stories of good times & the camraderie of those who serve this country. I am as proud of you as I am for Dad. You are what makes this country work.

God Bless & Keep You Captain Eggers

Posted by: FiMc at June 25, 2004 09:29 PM

Well done. Stories about individual sacrifice always manage to supplant the big picture.

Godspeed, Captain Eggers.

Posted by: The Devil You Know at June 26, 2004 03:07 PM

Dearest Dan,
Although a few weeks have now passed since I received the news from our Echo co. classmates, the pain still lingers in my heart and the lump still sits in my throat. You never did things the easy way....Nothing has changed. I'm sorry I did not attend your funeral service at Ft. Bragg, but please know that I think of you often and my brother Sean (you remember Sean), he was there to pay his respects and to honor you. You have touched and inspired so many, including my brother who is currently going through green beret selection camp. His only regret is that he will not have the opportunity to serve with you. I only hope that my son grows up to respect God, country, and family the way you did. You will not be forgotten Danny. Good night my friend...my brother...my hero...

Paul W. Airey, II
The Citadel
Echo Co. '97

Posted by: Paul Airey at June 26, 2004 11:55 PM

I really like what Kaptin Marko wrote. He's right, words seem so hollow. But I suppose that we have to try anyway.
I am sorry for his family, his wife and sons and Mom and Dad. I want you to know that we will never take what he did for granted. I wish that men and women like him didn't have to die to protect what we believe in.

Posted by: diana sebben at June 28, 2004 01:12 AM

My heartfelt condolences to the Eggers family. Never had the good fortune of meeting Danny (met Bill, Margaret and the girls at uncle Larry & Julie's wedding), but I've been routing him on for quite a while. My company was located on the 104th Floor of Tower Two. On 9/11, I lost 68 coworkers. Knowing that someone as bright and committed as Danny was working to stop the atrocities committed by the Taliban and Al Queda brought me and several coworkers great comfort. His uncle Larry was SO proud of him and spoke of him regularly (aunt Julie is my best friend). I enjoyed sharing any tidbits with my coworkers, as we don't often hear much about Operation Enduring Freedom on the nightly news. We loved that his unit was sporting NYPD caps. Needless to say, we were all terribly saddened by his death.

Your family should be very proud for all the public service it does. May Dan's younger brother Billy be safe in Iraq and please let Dan's two boys know what a hero my fellow World Trade Center survivors think he was. God Bless all our soldiers.

Liz

Posted by: Liz at June 28, 2004 08:11 PM

I met Dan as a very young 21 year old at Special forces selection in june of 2000, we were both from Cape Coral, ironically had both worked at Pizza-Hut on del prado as our first jobs and hung out for the next couple of weeks of selection. Dan was somewhat of a mentor to me, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw him almost a year later at another stage of our training, he was still the mentor and was always giving out advice and helping others. when i first arrived in Afghanistan in late September of 2003 at about 3am it was Dan who woke up from the tent next to mine after hearing my voice and made sure me and my boys had bunks and stayed up with me until daylight giving me more of his advice and showing me around the camp. Dan was an amazing American, someone to respect, and someone to emmulate. You are gone but NEVER forgotten.... Thank you Captain Eggers....

Posted by: Craig at July 3, 2004 11:30 PM

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