Friday, December 17, 2010

Army Sgt. Eric C. Newman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Eric C. Newman, 30, of Waynesboro, Miss.

Sgt Newman was assigned to 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Oct. 14, 2010 in Akatzai Kalay, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

‘The family will never recover from this loss’
By Therese Apel
The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger

WAYNESBORO, Miss. — They knew he was willing to die for his country, but the news of Sgt. Eric C. Newman’s death in Afghanistan still brought shock and sadness to his southeast Mississippi hometown of Waynesboro.

He was the third Mississippi soldier to die in Afghanistan since Sept. 20 and the 70th overall in the wars there and in Iraq.

“I thought the world of him. It hit me, it floored me,” Waynesboro Mayor Joe Taylor said. “I couldn’t believe what they were telling me when they said he’d gotten killed.”

Newman, 30, assigned to 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., died Oct. 14 in Akatzai Kalay, Afghanistan, of wounds he suffered when insurgents attacked his unit. He was on his second tour of duty, friends of the family said.

The people of Waynesboro, population 5,500, remember Newman as brave and laid-back. They said he wasn’t a big man, but he had a big heart, a positive attitude and good character.

“He was an outstanding individual,” Waynesboro Police Chief James Bunch said. “And it doesn’t surprise me at all that he would sacrifice himself for his country.”

Bunch said Newman worked for the Police Department several years ago before transitioning to the military.

“I know the family will never recover from this loss,” Bunch said, “and our hearts go out to them.”

Taylor said he’d known the sergeant all his life, as Newman’s grandmother lived a block from his house for many years. He said he often referred to Newman as his “little buddy.”

“He was a fine young man, I can tell you that,” Taylor said. “He was a really likeable person, and I thought the world of him.”

Friends of the family said Newman’s father died in a car accident when he was a child, leaving him, younger sister Kim, and his mother, Dianne. Their tight bond was evident to those who knew them.

Eric Newman was reared to be respectful, do right and follow orders, said Carole Dean, a family friend.

“I knew him as a young child, though I didn’t really know him as an adult. But he was raised to be a patriot, and to go and do anything anyone gave him to do,” said Dean.

Scott Bunch, a firefighter in Waynesboro, served in ROTC with Eric Newman at Wayne County High School, where Newman was a year ahead of him.

“You knew when he sets his mind to doing something, he goes all out,” Scott Bunch said. “This is a real tragedy, but I know he did it serving his country.”

Taylor and Dean said Dianne Newman had left town to retrieve her son’s remains at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Eric Newman joined the Army in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq shortly thereafter. He returned and was one of the first soldiers assigned to the 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, in early 2009. According to the website, Newman’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal and nine other decorations.

Army Sgt. Eric C. Newman was killed in action on 10/14/10.

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