Sunday, June 26, 2011

Army Spc. Matthew R. Gallagher

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Matthew R. Gallagher, 22, of North Falmouth, Mass.

Spc. Gallagher was assigned to 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died June 26, 2011 in Wasit province, Iraq, of injuries suffered from a non-combat incident.

Army Sgt. Matthew R. Gallagher of North Falmouth was killed in Iraq Saturday. He was 22 years old.

"He really found his niche in the Army. He loved being a soldier," said his mother, Cheryl Ruggerio of North Falmouth, in an interview today. "He gave it his all, and his fellow soldiers loved him, too."

Ruggerio said her son Matthew, who was completing his second tour in Iraq after joining the Army in 2009, had advanced through the ranks "very quickly" and had just recently received a promotion—a fact that he had proudly announced on his Facebook page.

"The Army tells you 'be all you can be,' and he lived it," Ruggerio said. "He was just a great soldier."

Ruggerio added that her son was "very intelligent" and had won the Abigail Adams Scholarship award for excellence in the state MCAS tests.

Ruggerio said the Army told her that her son was with a fellow soldier Saturday doing a sweep of housing units when shots were fired at them. The soldier he was with called a medic, but Sgt. Gallagher died before they could make it to the hospital.

Ruggerio said the Army was conducting an investigation into her son's death, but that it could take as long as six months to a year to complete.

Gallagher leaves behind his wife, Katie Hall of North Falmouth. Ruggerio said they were married a year and a half ago, and had been dating for six years before that.

The funeral will be held at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in North Falmouth, and Gallagher will be buried at the National Cemetery in Bourne. Ruggerio said the dates are not yet set, as she was planning to fly down to Dover, Delaware to receive the body.

"We were going to bypass [Dover] and go straight to Hansom [Air Force Base], where there will be a bigger service," Ruggerio said tearfully. "But I don't want him coming to Dover and nobody being there. Katie and my other son and I are going to go to Dover to meet him there and bring him home."

Army Spc. Matthew R. Gallagher was killed in action on 6/26/11.

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