(WHDH) — A Massachusetts native was among three US servicemen killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the Department of Defense announced.
Army Sgt. 1st class Eric Michael Emond, 39, was one of the three casualties offering support during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Emond, along with Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin, were killed when their vehicle was struck by an “improvised explosive device” in Andar in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan.
Emond most recently lived in Brush Prairie, Washington.
He was a Massachusetts native who had helped to start a local nonprofit, Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, according to Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton.
In a statement Wednesday night, Massachusetts Fallen HeroesExecutive Director Dan Magoon said: “Eric was a part of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes from day one. He was in the room at Florian Hall developing our mission, creating our logo, and ultimately designing our memorial from the back of a napkin. This organization would not exist if it wasn’t for Eric’s commitment and dedication, along with the support of his wife and sister.”
Moulton said in a statement: “Massachusetts lost a son and a hero in Afghanistan. SFC Eric Emond served his country bravely and honorably both overseas and at home.”
Gov. Charlie Baker also released a statement Wednesday night that read: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. Sgt. Emond was a highly decorated soldier and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be forever grateful for his bravery and honorable service to the country throughout seven tours of duty overseas.”
Emond was a 21-year veteran, a soldier, a marine, and a two-time Purple Heart recipient.
Mairin Keady says she’ll remember him as a friend.
“Just a wonderful, wonderful young man. Kind, compassionate, a soldier’s soldier,” she said.
Emond’s most recent tour of duty was his seventh overseas. Keady says he didn’t have to go back but was driven to serve.
“I think it’s the commitment to being an American and a patriot, sacrificing for his country and wanting a better life for all Americans,” she said.
Keady says Emond’s legacy will live on through the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes. In the Seaport, they’ve etched the names of each and every one. Emond’s name will soon be among them.
“What are these boys still doing out in a war zone,” she said. “I thought it was all over, but war never ends.”
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