Thursday, May 18, 2006

Army Pfc. Nicholas R. Cournoyer

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Nicholas R. Cournoyer, 25, of Gilmanton, N.H.

Pfc Cournoyer was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died May 18 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Baghdad. Also killed were Lt. Col. Daniel E. Holland, 1st. Lt. Robert A. Seidel III and Sgt. Lonnie C. Allen Jr.

Union Leader Staff
Saturday, May. 20, 2006

A soldier from Gilmanton who loved to work out and was known for his generosity was killed this week in Iraq, the New Hampshire National Guard said yesterday.

Pfc. Nicholas R. Cournoyer, 25, was among those killed Thursday when a homemade bomb exploded as their convoy returned to base in Baghdad, said Maj. Greg Heilshorn, a guard spokesman.

Cournoyer grew up in Gilmanton, graduating in 2000 from Gilford High School, Heilshorn said. Yesterday, family and friends wearing red ribbons streamed to the home of his parents, Denis and Lenda.

Heilshorn, who acted as spokesman for the family, said Cournoyer was remembered for his generosity. His mother would send care packages to Iraq, which he always shared with his fellow soldiers.

“Needless to say, his buddies in his unit couldn’t wait for him to get those care packages,” Heilshorn said.

“As his mom and dad said, he had a big heart.”

At least 13 other soldiers and Marines with New Hampshire ties have died in the Middle East in the past two years, including two others since April.

Cournoyer enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 2005, and was a member of the 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum, N.Y.

He had been in Iraq nearly a year, and was scheduled to return stateside late this summer. February was the last time he saw home, when he was back for a two-week leave.

Cournoyer was an infantryman and had been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, which is given to soldiers who see direct combat, Heilshorn said.

“He worked out,” Heilshorn said. “He was very, very much into being in shape, which is of course part of being a soldier.”

Before enlisting, Cournoyer worked as a mason’s assistant in the Laconia area. He bought a truck that he had fixed up and paid off.

He planned to buy a Harley-Davidson after his tour ended, Heilshorn said. He wanted to join the National Guard.

Last night, longtime Gilford educator Don Engelbert said Cournoyer had a highly developed sense of right and wrong that stood out to his peers and teachers.

Cournoyer found a niche in the military, Engelbert said.

“He was a really solid human being and he was a caring human being,” said Engelbert, who taught Cournoyer’s older sister, Natalie. “He was a big, strapping kid.”

Though Cournoyer was not involved in high school athletics, he was a Red Sox fan. Heilshorn said his mother would send him Sox memorabilia while he was stationed in Iraq.

Funeral arrangements have not been scheduled. Cournoyer will be buried with full military honors, Heilshorn said.

Army Pfc. Nicholas R. Cournoyer was killed in action on 05/18/06.

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