Thursday, August 11, 2011

Army Sgt. Edward J. Frank II

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Edward J. Frank II, 26, of Yonkers, N.Y.

Sgt Frank was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Aug. 11, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed were Spc. Jameel T. Freeman, Spc. Patrick L. Lay II, Spc. Jordan M. Morris and Pfc. Rueben J. Lopez.

The house was decorated for Army Sgt. Edward J. Frank II's return home. But the Yonkers 26-year-old, a father of three, would not survive his tour in Afghanistan. He was killed, along with four other soldiers, while on patrol in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

The trail of loss continues, stretching from New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 9/11, through Afghanistan and Iraq, to the hometowns of service members — like Frank's native Hartford, Conn., and Yonkers. Even with the nascent beginnings of the long end of lingering war, the threats, and the echoes of loss, remain.

Frank was almost home. His wife, Selena, had decorated their home for a joyous homecoming, when he could once again hold his three young children, a daughter and two sons. But Frank, known as Jeffrey, had volunteered for another patrol, delaying his return home, staff writer Ned P. Rauch reports. On a Facebook tribute page, fellow soldiers express the mixed emotions of deep gratitude and crushing sadness that Frank's gesture, taking that last mission, cost the sergeant his life but saved others.

Frank, Spc. Jameel T. Freeman, 26, of Baltimore, Md.; Spc. Patrick L. Lay II, 21, of Fletcher, N.C.; Spc. Jordan M. Morris, 23, of Stillwater, Okla.; and Pfc. Rueben J. Lopez, 27, of Williams, Calif., died after their vehicles hit roadside bombs. Frank and his fellow soldiers were assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. He had been in the Army for six years and had two tours of Iraq under his belt. Frank had earned medals and commendations for his service.

His troops respected his authority, enjoyed his jovial personality and admired his devotion to family, according to the hundreds of comments on a Facebook page dedicated to his memory. Yonkers friends and Army buddies to complete strangers visited the online tribute, to express gratitude for his service, heartbreak for his family and frustration that he was so close to coming back home.

Instead of that warm homecoming, there was the knock on the door Thursday by three men in uniform; just the word, "sorry," signaled the grim news they bore. Instead of a greeting her husband with a welcome-home embrace, Selena Frank made a weekend trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware , to meet his casket.

Army Sgt. Edward J. Frank II was killed in action on 8/11/11.

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