Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Army Spc. Richard C Emmons III

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Richard C Emmons III, 22, of North Granby, Conn.

Spc. Emmons was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.; died May 31, 2011 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

SPC Emmons was driving the lead vehicle in a convoy when the attack occurred. He was rushed to a military hospital, where he later died, the Defense Department said. Two other soldiers suffered minor injuries in the attack.

SPC Emmons, known to his family as "Richie", was originally from Woodstown, NJ. He grew up there and attended Woodstown Middle School before moving with his family to North Granby, Conn., when he was 14 due to his parents’ work. He graduated from Granby Memorial High School in 2006.

SPC Emmons joined the Army in September 2009. He trained at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Gordon, Ga.. before arriving at Fort Polk in May 2010. Emmons was a signal support systems specialist. He eployed to Afghanistan October last year.

Mother, Janice, said that was the last time she saw her son, though stated he called frequently and kept in regular contact through Facebook.

“He loved being in the Army, and he made a lot of good friends,” she said. “With every bad situation, he made it better for everyone with his personality. He was just such an adorable, lovable child.”

"He was a wonderful boy, a wonderful boy," his grandmother, Carol. “We loved him. There will be a hole in our hearts forever."

“People need to remember that there are thousands of Richies over there that need our support,” she said. “Like him, they’re trying to make a difference.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Emmons and to continue that way until SPC Emmons' funeral.

"Our prayers go out to the family and friends of Specialist Emmons at this devastating time," said Malloy. "We will not forget that Specialist Emmons, like too many of our men and women in uniform, gave his life for the cause of freedom and in service to this country. Our thoughts are with his unit still in Afghanistan, and hope they, and the rest of our troops overseas, return home safely."

A flag outside Granby Memorial High School where Emmons graduated also flew at half-staff.

SPC Emmons' platoon held a memorial service for him. A shrine in Emmons' honor included a framed photo, his helmet, rifle and boots and the Bronze Star and Purple Heart he received posthumously.

SPC Emmons’ body was flown back to the United States and arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, June 2. A large gathering of family and friends were on hand for the arrival and a ceremony honoring Emmons at the base.

SPC Emmons' body arrived in his former hometown of Woodstown, Thursday, June 9, following a motorcade procession from Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del.

Led by New Jersey State Police and a motorcade of police vehicles and flag-bearing motorcycles, the hearse transporting Emmons passed beneath a giant American flag hung between the ladders of two fire trucks on South Main Street and arrived at the H.T. Layton Funeral Home shortly after 2 p.m.

Salem County emergency personnel and soldiers lined the street to salute as Emmons’ body made its journey down West Avenue and turned onto South Main Street, halting in front of the funeral home. Members of the motorcade and residents gathered around the hearse while the casket was removed.

Emmons’ family stood together, looking on as a military pallbearers carried his silver, flag-draped casket from the hearse through the doors of the funeral home.

Mother, Janice, said the community’s support in bringing her son home was tremendous.

“I’m so proud to see everyone here pulling together as a community to make this a special home coming for my son,” she said. “I’m proud to be a part of Salem County, and I know that Richie was too.”

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated today at 11 a.m. at the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit Parish Center. Burial with full military honors took place after Mass at Lawnside Cemetery in Pilesgrove.

A memorial service in SPC Emmons’ hometown of North Granby, Conn., will be held at a later date.

SPC Emmons is survived by his mother, Janice, and step-father, William Hogan; sister, Morgan; brother, Conor; maternal grandparents, Carol and Ralph Tighe; and paternal grandmother Arlene Emmons. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard C. Emmons Jr. and paternal grandfather, Richard C. Emmons Sr.

Army Spc. Richard C Emmons III was killed in action on 5/31/11.

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