Camp Eggers honors the fallen in Afghanistan
As the sun set over Camp Eggers this past Memorial Day, hundreds of coalition members gathered to pay tribute to comrades lost in battle – not just U.S. fallen heroes, but fallen heroes from every nation.
During the coalition memorial remembrance ceremony, service members who gave their life in support of Operation Enduring Freedom were honored with a moment of silence and a roll call of their names during a candlelight ceremony.
“Those that have given their last full measure for this mission are as varied as those that serve here today,” said Army Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan commanding general. “Privates to chief warrant officers to lieutenant colonels – from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Latvia, the United States and from Afghanistan – they are members of all services, from National Guard, Reserve and Active components.”
While many countries have their own dedicated day set aside to remember the fallen members of their armed forces, special effort was made to include all coalition countries into the Memorial Day remembrance as a sign of the joint effort and sacrifice happening in Afghanistan. Representatives of many coalition nations were present at the ceremony, raising flags, lighting candles and paying their respects.
Attending the ceremony as an honored guest was Army Maj. Rebecca Eggers, wife of Army Capt. Daniel Eggers whom the camp is named after. Daniel Eggers, a Special Forces detachment commander and Citadel graduate, was killed May 29, 2004, by an improvised explosive device near Kandahar. Prior to the ceremony, Rebecca Eggers met with several other Citadel alumni who knew Daniel and are now serving in Afghanistan.
In March 2005, Kabul Compound was renamed Camp Eggers. Rebecca Eggers was not able to attend the dedication ceremony, but e-mailed the commanding general at the time to ask him why he chose Daniel Eggers for the honor.
“He said Dan’s sacrifice was important; it stood for quite a lot,” said Rebecca Eggers, who is currently deployed to Southwest Asia as Chief, Personnel Accounting Branch and Strength Reporting Branch. “He was an officer and there were few officers (dying) at the time. He was Special Forces and at the time, most of the operations were Special Forces.”
Growing up with an Army Reserve colonel as a mother and a father who was a Green Beret during Vietnam, Rebecca Eggers was always familiar with Memorial Day and its special meaning. Since her husband was killed, the holiday has a more personal feeling.
“Memorial Day’s always been important to us,” she said, but since her husband’s death it’s become more personal and more difficult, especially considering he was killed over Memorial Day weekend.
Eggers is among 15 Citadel graduates who have died while service in the war on terror. To date more than 1,400 Citadel alumni who are or have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in support of the war on terror. See Deployed Alumni.
As fallen service members are remembered around the world, there is one thing Rebecca Eggers wants people to remember about her husband, particularly those who are serving at Camp Eggers.
“I would want them to know he was funny; he was smart. He absolutely loved what he did. He was killed doing what he loved,” she said. “He truly thought he was doing good and I think that’s what matters.”
Remembering the fallen, like Daniel Eggers, Caldwell took time out to recognize those who are currently serving.
“While today is dedicated to those that we have lost, I want to also take this opportunity to thank you for your service to NTM-A/CSTC-A and Afghanistan,” he said to the somber crowd. “Each of you, and your families, have sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, to protect your nation and make a difference in this country.
"For almost nine years we have all missed birthdays, holidays, first steps, and anniversaries while in service to our nations," Caldwell said. "Thank you for the sacrifices that you and your families endure as defenders of your nation and Afghanistan.”
For the men and women of NTM-A and CSTC-A at Camp Eggers, Rebecca Eggers had one wish.
“I’d want them to take pride in what they’re doing,” she said. “I’d want them to be safe and pay extra diligence to make sure they’re taking care of their fellow service members and they get home safe.”
Story written by Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel Martinez, USAF, NATO Training Mission- Afghanistan