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Memoriums in Honor of Connecticut's Lost Soldiers

March 2002 - August 2004.

This year's book also features special memorials in honor of Connecticut soldiers who lost their lives serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. Biographies and photographs provided by the families of servicemen lost prior to printing appear in the bound version, with additional memoriams included in this online edition.

Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman

Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman was killed in action in Afghanistan March 4, 2002. He died of injuries from a helicopter crash. He was the first Connecticut native to die in combat since military action in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He had followed his father's footsteps into the Air Force in 1985 and initially worked with computers. But in 1989, Chapman decided to plunge into the grueling training for Special Forces. He was among the seven servicemen in his class of about 1,500 who made it through that training, his mother said. He joined the elite 24th Special Tactics Squadron based at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. The job sent him to hot spots all over the world. Chapman was part of a unit assigned to capture or set up airfields. His job was to set up air traffic control systems and guide bombers to their targets in support of ground troops. Chapman was on an MH-47 Chinook helicopter when it came under machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

A standout athlete and a 1983 graduate of Windsor Locks High School, Chapman leaves a wife and two young daughters who live in Fayetteville, N.C. Chapman also is survived by his father, Eugene Chapman of Michigan, his stepfather, Nick Giaccone, two sisters and a brother. At Windsor Locks High, Chapman fast emerged as a winning athlete, making the varsity soccer team in his freshman year. A school diving record he set as a junior still stands.

"Copyright, 2002, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Gunnery Sergeant Phillip A. Jordan

Gunnery Sergeant Phillip A. Jordan, U.S.M.C. (KIA)

Gunnery Sergeant Phillip Jordan was born in Texas on April 20, 1960 and graduated from Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1987 and served in the 1991 Gulf War. Based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Gunnery Sergeant Jordan was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Gunnery Sergeant Jordan, 42, was killed on March 23, 2003 along with eight other Marines in a clash near the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah when enemy soldiers feigned surrender before opening fire. A resident of Enfield, CT Gunnery Sergeant Jordan leaves behind his wife of nine years, Amanda and their six-year-old son Tyler.

Corporal Kemaphoom "Ahn" Chanawongse

Corporal Kemaphoom "Ahn" Chanawongse, U.S.M.C. (KIA)

Corporal Kemaphoom "Ahn" Chanawongse was born in Bangkok, Thailand on May 5, 1980 and settled in Waterford, CT with his family, when he was nine. He graduated from Waterford High School in 1999 and immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps. Based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Corporal Chanawongse was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. His parent command was the 2nd Assault amphibian Battalion. Corporal Chanawongse was first reported as missing in action after his amphibious assault vehicle was ambushed near Nasiriyah as the unit tried to take control of a bridge over the Euphrates River. On April 16, 2003 the Department of Defense confirmed that he had been killed in action on March 23, 2003 during that operation. Corporal Chanawongse leaves behind his mother and stepfather Tan and Paul Patchem and a brother Kemapasse.

Army Spc. Wilfredo Perez, Jr.

Army Spc. Wilfredo Perez, Jr., 24, of Norwalk, CT, was born in Brooklyn, NY on December 19, 1978 to Wilfredo Perez, Sr. of Norwalk and Ann Marie Eccles of Queens. He lived in Queens until middle school, was a member of the Sea Cadets and was proud to have marched in the 1991 Desert Storm ticker tape parade in New York City.

Wilfredo moved to Connecticut to live with his father. He attended Nathan Hale Middle School and Norwalk High School and was a member of the R.O.T.C. program and a peer counselor, helping kids work out disputes. He walked numerous years for the MS Society and the American Diabetes Foundation. He volunteered at the 1995 Special Olympics World Games.

Army Spc. Perez was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Ft. Hood, Texas. Army Spc. Perez and two other soldiers were killed on July 26, 2003 during a grenade attack in Iraq as they were guarding a children's hospital in Ba'Qubah, just north of Bagdad. He was the third Connecticut serviceman to die in Iraq and the first soldier in Norwalk killed in war since 1969.

Before shipping out to Ft. Hood, Wilfredo Perez, Jr. worked with his father as a remolding contractor. He also worked for Stew Leonard's and Sign-A-Rama in Norwalk. He loved designing signs freehand and with software. He hoped to use this experience and the GI bill to pursue a career in computer graphic design.

Wilfredo Perez, Jr. was a leader. Strong physically and mentally; handsome and charismatic. You liked him immediately. He was kind-hearted and loved his family--he would do anything for them. He had a beautiful smile and loved to make people laugh. And even if you knew him only briefly, you would never forget him.

Army Spc. Wilfredo Perez, Jr. was awarded the Army's Commendation Medal for meritorious service while assigned as the Personal Security Detachment for the Brigade Commander, the Purple Heart for wounds received in action, and the Bronze Star for the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Army Spc. Wilfredo Perez, Jr.'s final resting place is Cypress Hills Cemetary, Queens, NY. To honor our fallen hero, a scholarship has been established in his name at Norwalk High School.

Army Staff Sergeant Richard Selden Eaton, Jr.

Army Staff Sergeant Richard Selden Eaton, Jr.

Staff Sgt. Rick Eaton was New Haven-born and raised in Guilford, CT. While still a youth, he decided on an Army career and, especially, in Military Intelligence (MI). Never wanting to be anything more - or less - than a Counterintelligence Special Agent and Analyst, the ancestor of two Generals turned down an appointment to West Point.

He was called to duty in the Iraq war with the Fort Meade, Maryland-based 323rd MI Battalion. He was attached to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment when he was found dead of an apparent heat stroke following his return from an August 11, 2003 mission.

Staff Sgt. Eaton was awarded the Army's Bronze Star and the Military Intelligence Corps Association's Knowlton Award, both posthumously. Staff Sgt. Eaton was recognized repeatedly for exemplary achievement during his service in the Regular Army and Army Reserves, including the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters (four awards), Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and Oak Leaf Cluster each (seven awards), the Good Conduct Medal (three awards); the National Defense Service Medal with Star Device, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with two Devices, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (five awards), and the Expert Marksmanship Badge with bars for rifle, pistol and grenade. As the "Connecticut State Register and Manual" was going to print, his nomination for induction into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame was being prepared.

He is survived by his parents, former State Senator Richard S. Eaton, Sr., and Sharon Noble Eaton of Guilford. He was buried in the historic Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, not far from the tomb of his great-great-great grandfather General Amos B. Eaton, U.S.A.

Sergeant David "Travis" Friedrich

Sergeant David "Travis" Friedrich

Sergeant David Friedrich was born March 10, 1977, in Middlebury, Vt., the son of David and Elizabeth (Neal) Friedrich. He graduated from Gouverneur High School in 1995, attended the Delta Honors College at SUNY Brockport, from where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in chemistry. While a student, he interned with the Ogdensburg Police Dept., as well as in Edinburgh, Scotland where he created a toxicology database for the Leeds and Borders Police Dept.

Friedrich worked undercover for a private investigator in the Boston, Mass. area before enrolling in the U.S. Army Reserves Military Intelligence. His first deployment was in the United States. He enrolled in the Forensic Science master's program at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and worked for a large pharmaceutical company.

He had nearly finished his degree when he was deployed for a second time, this time to Iraq. Friedrich was a sergeant serving with B Company, 325th Military Intelligence Battalion, based out of Waterbury, Conn.

Friedrich enjoyed running, in which he was competitive in high school and college. He completed the Burlington Marathon in Vermont in May 2001. He also enjoyed downhill skiing and windsurfing.

Sergeant David "Travis" Friedrich died September 20, 2003 in a mortar strike at a U.S. Army base in Abu Gareeb, Iraq.

Army Pfc. Anthony D'Agostino

Pfc. Anthony D'Agostino of Waterbury was one of 16 who died after a CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down over Iraq Nov. 2, 2003. He was a communications specialist attached to the 16th Signal Brigade in Fort Hood, Texas. He was 20 years old.

Anthony's father, Steve D'Agostino describes his son as someone who loved playing with Legos as a child, and who was loyally devoted to the television show "The Simpsons." He remembered giving Anthony his first dirt bike for his birthday in eighth grade.

He joined the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His family said he had dreams of attending the U.S. Military Academy and making the military his career.

D'Agostino was born in Georgia, when his father was in the military. He graduated from Kaynor Vocational Technical School in Waterbury with a specialty in electricity.

D'Agostino was the sixth member of the military from Connecticut to die in Iraq.

"Copyright, 2003, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Army Sgt. Maj. Philip R. Albert

Army Sgt. Maj. Philip R. Albert was killed on November 23, 2003 when their transport helicopter went down shortly after leaving Bagram Air Base in northeastern Afghanistan.

Albert grew up in the Terryville section of Plymouth and was 41. He joined the Army after high school.

Albert's family was presented with the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantryman Badge.

"Copyright, 2003, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Private First Class Jeff Braun

Private First Class Jeff Braun

Jeff Braun was born on July 24, 1984 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and was adopted by William and Meridith Braun when he was 6 months old. From early on, Jeff was a curious, friendly, outgoing, and active boy with a contagious smile that could light up a room. Highly intelligent, Jeff was an avid reader and pursued a wide variety of literary interests, which ran the gamut from comic books and fantacy to mysteries, political thrillers and the Bible. He always prided himself on his vocabulary and his verbal ability and wit contributed to his being an excellent debater and philosopher.

A successful student, Jeff's independence and unquenchable desire to always be involved led him to join many activities in middle and high school. In fourth grade he personally began a chess club which endures until this day. Enthusiastic and described as an extremely "coachable" athlete, Jeff played soccer, both indoor and outdoor, was on the track and field team and was on the wrestling team. He was also involved in music, service corp. and church activities.

Friendships were very important to Jeff and he always had a wide variety of friends in addition to having a core of close friends that he maintained close ties with until his death. A natural leader and imbuing others with his positive outlook on life, Jeff often organized activities and had numerous goals and aspirations. He was concerned with the plight of the downtrodden and wanted to help others less fortunate than himself. Truly delighted with the arrival of his sister when he was three, Jeff became Julie's protector during high school and had continued this role while in the military. Due to Jeff's involvement in so many areas of life and his incredible personality, vitality, and sense of humor, his influence on people's lives was widespread.

Jeff joined the Armed Forces to help give himself direction, meet the physical and mental challenges of military service, and to have the opportunity to travel before beginning college to study to be a physical education teacher, a career path from which he had never deviated. Jeff received numerous honors and awards while in military training and when stationed in Iraq. He was highly respected and appreciated by his fellow troops and commanding officers because of both his skills and his positive outlook and attitude. His desire to build an orphanage in his birth country of Honduras and the fact that he had already begun the process to have this dream reach fruition is just one of the indicators that Jeff Braun was a truly extraordinary young man with the potential to make great contributions to our world. Jeff was a young man of courage and convictions who touched the lives of many people.

Army Captain Eric Thomas Paliwoda

Army Captain Eric Thomas Paliwoda

United States Army Captain Eric Thomas Paliwoda, 28, formerly of West Hartford, Connecticut was killed in action on January 2, 2004 in Balad, Iraq. Born February 23, 1975 in Hartford, Eric was the beloved son of Alfred and Mary Paliwoda of Sedona, Arizona. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his fiance Wendy Rosen of Hartsdale, New York, his sister and brother-in-law Allison and Captain Jeff Csoka of Clarksville, Tennessee, and his uncle, aunt and cousins Thomas, Susan, Michael, and Cailin Luneburg of Danville, California. Eric is predeceased by his maternal grandparents Phyllis and Thomas Luneburg and paternal grandparents Helen and Jan Paliwoda.

Growing up in Farmington, Connecticut, Eric attended West District Elementary School and Irving A. Robbins Middle School. Eric graduated from West Hartford's Conard High School in 1993, where he was an exceptional student and an All-State and All-American honored basketball player. During high school, he received a congressional nomination and was accepted to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Eric entered the Academy in 1993 and over his four years there was a member of Army's Division I Basketball and Track & Field teams. He graduated from West Point in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.

Following graduation from the Academy, Eric traveled to Fort Hood, Texas where he served as both a Platoon Leader and an Executive Officer for an Engineer Battalion. He then moved to Fort Carson, Colorado where he was the Battalion Personnel Officer in the 4th Engineer Battalion and Assistant Brigade Engineer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division. Eric's extensive military education included graduation from the Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Scout Platoon Leaders Course, the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the Combined Arms Services Staff School, and the Cavalry Leaders Course. Over the course of his career, Eric was awarded both the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal twice, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. Eric will be honored with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star posthumously. Eric served as Company Commander for Bravo Company, 4th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom since April 2003. He had also recently been chosen to return to West Point as an instructor in the Department of Environmental Studies.

Eric will be terribly missed by all of those who knew, loved and cherished him. As a special leader and friend, he reached, touched and changed many lives during his brief time on this earth.

Army Sgt. Benjamin Gilman

Army Sgt. Benjamin Gilman was assigned to the 41st Engineering Battalion with the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, N.Y. He was killed Jan. 29, 2004 in an accidental explosion as he and members of his unit were attempting to dispose of a weapons cache in a village near Ghazni, Afghanistan.

Gilman was a lifelong resident of Meriden and a graduate of Platt High School where he participated in the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America and the school's culinary club. He was also active in the Meriden-Wallingford Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. He had worked at the Roy Rogers restaurant in the Westfield Shoppingtown Meriden mall for several years and had volunteered at the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital.

He enlisted in the Army in 1996. He is survived by his mother, Edith R. Gilman of Meriden, and his maternal grandmother, Ruth A. Gilman of Tacoma, Washington.

"Copyright, 2004, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Army Spec. Tyanna Avery-Felder

U.S. Army Spec. Tyanna Avery-Felder died April 6, 2004 from wounds sustained after being hit by shrapnel. She was the 12th soldier from Connecticut killed in Iraq.

Avery-Felder was married to Adrian Felder, a soldier she met at Fort Lewis south of Tacoma, Wash. Her husband stayed in Seattle when she was sent to Iraq last year.

The second of three children, Tyanna was a graduate of Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, CT. She had planned on working with children and enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University, but left after a year and joined the Army. She completed basic training in South Carolina in 2001.

"Copyright, 2004, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Army Sgt. Felix Delgreco

Sgt. Felix Delgreco of Simsbury, a member of C Company, 102nd Infantry in Bristol, was killed April 9, 2004 while on patrol in Baghdad, when his vehicle struck an improvised bomb and was attacked with small arms. He was the first member of the Connecticut Army National Guard to die in Iraq. He was 22 years old.

A member of Simsbury High's Class of 1999, Delgreco played trumpet in the jazz band. He worked as part of the backstage technical crew on school plays and other performances.

As a teen, Delgreco had an abiding interest in the military and enlisted in the guard in 1999 while still in high school. He became a member of C Company, 102nd Infantry, in Bristol.

The company left Connecticut on Jan. 8 for Fort Hood, Texas, and became part of the 39th Brigade from Arkansas. The unit arrived in Kuwait and began patrolling in Baghdad.

"Copyright, 2004, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan B. Bruckenthal

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, who lived in Ridgefield during his teens, died April 24, 2004 in an attack near the Khawr Al Amaya oil terminal. His was the first combat death for the Coast Guard since the Vietnam War. He was 24 years old.

Bruckenthal, assigned to the Coast Guard Air Station in Florida's Miami-Dade County and servicing his second tour of duty in Iraq, died of injuries suffered during an attack on the terminal by suicide bombers in boats.

Though the Coast Guard is traditionally associated with shoreline patrols, port security and rescue missions, there are about 300 Coast Guard members serving in the Iraq war.

At the peak of the war, 1,250 guardsmen were deployed, working with the Navy to provide security.

"Copyright, 2004, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart

Army Private First Class Melissa Hobart, who grew up in East Haven, died June 6, 2004 while serving guard duty in Baghdad. She was 22, and leaves behind a 3-year-old daughter.

Melissa Hobart had lived in Ladson, S.C. for about six years.

She entered the military, her brother and mother said, to help her country and provide for her daughter Alexis.

After earning a GED, Hobart attended nursing school at Trident Technical College for a year, her mother said, before deciding to join the Army.

Her family described her as personable and caring - someone who, in her brother Gary's words, "would be willing to help anybody." She loved to listen to music and watch movies with her friends, her mother said, and was an avid reader of Steven King novels.

While in Iraq with Company E, 215th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, Melissa made a special effort to keep in touch with her family.
"She used to call all the time and talk to her daughter," her brother Gary said. "She also made it a priority to call everyone else in the family."

"Copyright, 2004, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."

Army Spec. Jacob D. Martir

Army Spec. Jacob D. Martir, a native of Puerto Rico who grew up in Willimantic and Norwich, was killed Aug. 18, 2004 by small-arms fire while on patrol in a part of Baghdad known as Sadr City. He was 21 years old. Martir originally joined the Army in 2000, fulfilling a dream he had held since childhood to be a soldier.

Don Primavera, a family friend, said Martir was a "happy-go-lucky kid" who liked to joke around. Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, he moved to Connecticut when he was young, living in Willimantic and Norwich. He attended Norwich Free Academy briefly, earned his high school equivalence diploma at Westover Job Corps Center in Chicopee, Mass., then enlisted when he was 17. "It made him proud to be able to serve his country," Primavera said.

Martir was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for meritorious service. Martir was the 14th member of the military with ties to Connecticut who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan. Martir served with Alpha Troop, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas.

"Copyright, 2004, the Hartford Courant. Reprinted with Permission."


It is with great pride and admiration that I dedicate the 2003 edition of the State Register and Manual to two of Connecticut's literary legends: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain. Their presence as neighbors in Hartford's historic Nook Farm, to this day, is testimony to the enduring value of their lives and works. Stowe and Twain represent beacons for us even today: compelling writers and concerned citizens who chose to live and work in Hartford. I am pleased to perpetuate the legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain).

signature of Susan Bysiewicz
Susan Bysiewicz
Secretary of the State