Thread: Hall of Valor
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:35 PM   #121
Ndnsoldierboy
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22, of Brentwood, N.Y.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; killed March 18 when his team came under small-arms fire while clearing a village in Dehrawood, Afghanistan.
Funeral held for first Long Island soldier killed in Afghanistan

By Frank Eltman

The Associated Press

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — Two weeks after he telephoned his mother to warn her he was going out on a “bad mission,” Army Sgt. Michael J. Esposito Jr. was remembered at his funeral Monday as a fiercely loyal soldier who had already served in Kuwait when he re-enlisted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Esposito, 22, was the first soldier from Long Island to be killed in the fighting in Afghanistan; two other Long Islanders — also from the Brentwood-Bay Shore community — have died in the war in Iraq.

“Both Mike and his family knew why he was there,” the Rev. Gerry Twomey told hundreds of mourners at St. Luke’s Catholic Church. Citing a conversation with Esposito’s father, Michael Sr., Twomey added: “They’re there because of what happened on 9/11. They’re there, and they know why they’re there.”

Esposito and Staff. Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman, 27, of Yonkers, died when their unit came under fire on March 18 in the Hindu Kush mountains. Both men belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, stationed at Fort Drum in upstate New York. They were participating in a mission to drive out remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces in the area.

‘These soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are deploying are making an extreme sacrifice,” Brig. Gen Byron Bagby, assistant division commander for the 10th Mountain Division, said after the funeral Mass. “They are in danger each and every day and they are doing an absolutely phenomenal job.”

Twomey explained that Esposito announced to his parents a month before his 18th birthday that he had enlisted in the Army. He served three years, including a six-month stint in Kuwait, and was eligible to spend three years in the reserves, but decided to re-enlist because of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Michael found himself cast in a drama of good and evil,” Twomey said. “He faced the hard, clean questions. He chose good over evil and did well. He was well-loved, and we feel his loss profoundly.”

Cathy Heighter, whose son, Cpl. Raheen Tyson Heighter, was killed in northern Iraq last July, noted that both her son and Esposito were graduates of Brentwood High School.

Pfc. Jacob Fletcher, of nearby Bay Shore, was killed Nov. 13.

“It’s always important for me to be at any soldier’s funeral service that I’m able to be at,” Heighter said after the service. “My heart goes out to each and every family. I try to understand, only from my own experience, what they are going through because of what I have gone through.”

Heighter, who wore a photograph of her son on her lapel, added ominously: “As I sat this morning ... it kept coming to me that more will die, more will continue to die, and what is there that we can do about it as a people of our nation?”

Hard to believe it's been a little over 12 years...

Deeds Not Words.
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