|From The Oregonian oregonlive.com
Eugene soldier dies of combat wounds
Cody J. Eggleston had been in Iraq less than a month
Monday, October 27, 2008
The Oregonian Staff
Pfc. Cody J. Eggleston married in June, turned 21 in September, and left for Iraq the next day. He had been in the combat zone less than a month on Oct. 16, when he was wounded in a mortar attack northeast of Baghdad.
On Friday, the Eugene native died of his wounds at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, the Defense Department said.
"He really didn't have time to experience life," said his uncle, Rick Eggleston, of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Eggleston was the 125th service member with strong ties to Oregon or southwest Washington to die in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Eggleston -- "C.J." to friends -- was born into a longtime Eugene family. His grandfather, Walter Eggleston Sr., was a Lane County sheriff's sergeant who moved to Alaska in the 1970s with his sons. One son, Rick, stayed. The other, Wally, returned to Oregon and started a family. C.J. Eggleston was his son. He grew up in Eugene and Redmond.
C.J. Eggleston would return to Alaska several times during his life. The first was as a young boy, when his parents divorced in the early 1990s and Wally Eggleston took the children north to work. The second was at 16, one summer in high school.
In these visits, he became close to Rick Eggleston's children. With them, he loved to fish, ride four-wheelers and play guitar. "He was a heck of a guitar player," his uncle said.
He returned to Alaska once more in the fall of 2007, as a soldier.
"He was a 6-foot-3 giant, and a gentle giant, I'll tell you that much," Rick Eggleston said.
C.J. Eggleston had requested an Alaska posting and landed at the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Wainwright. He told his uncle he wanted to make Alaska his new home.
But then, last November, he struck up an online romance with a woman from North Carolina with a 6-year-old daughter. They met in the spring and wed at the Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks. His new plan was to move to North Carolina and become a state trooper after completing his military service.
On Sept. 18, he shipped out for Iraq, where he served as a second gunner on his vehicle, the man who feeds bullets into the machine gun as the first gunner fires.
The mortar attack that killed Eggleston also took the life of Pfc. Heath K. Pickard, 21, of Palestine, Texas.
|From Fairbanks Daily News newsminer.com
Second Stryker soldier dies after being wounded in mortar attack
By Christopher Eshleman and Chris Freiberg
Originally published Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 8:19 p.m.
Updated Monday, October 27, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
FAIRBANKS — A second Fort Wainwright soldier has died from wounds suffered during a mortar attack in Iraq earlier this month, the Army reported Sunday.
Pfc. Cody Eggleston died Friday after being treated at Bethesda Navy Medical Center, according to an Army news release. The attack, which also killed another soldier and wounded nine others on Oct. 16, was carried out in the Iraqi city of Baquaba, about 40 miles northeast of Bagdad. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Allen said Baquaba is home to a U.S. military base.
The 21-year-old Eggleston was from Eugene, Ore. He was one of a pair of soldiers recovering last weekend from the mortar attack, which also killed Texas native Heath Pickard.
Eggleston joined the Army in July 2007 and completed basic and advanced training before arriving at Fort Wainwright in December, Allen said.
“This would have been his first duty assignment after training,” he said.
Eight other soliders injured in the attack had returned to duty by the middle of last week. The final injured soldier was still being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Eggleston married wife Karie Eggleston in June in Alaska, according to a family friend.
“They were newlyweds in every sense of the word — so in love,” the friend, Alyse Aiken, wrote in a statement to WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, S.C. “They were already making plans for when he got back — they were very much looking forward to taking a honeymoon.”
Allen said the Army will release information early this week about a memorial service for Eggleston. The Army has notified the soldier’s family of his death.
The Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is made of more than 4,200 soldiers and began a 12-month tour of duty in Iraq in September. About half the brigade is made up of soldiers from Fort Wainwright’s 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which was deployed to Iraq for an extended 15-month deployment in 2005 and 2006.
Staff writer Chris Freiberg contributed to this story.
|From The Register Guard registerguard.com
Family mourns loss of soldier who always said, ‘Don’t worry’ Cody Eggleston, who graduated from high school in Eugene and died of injuries suffered in a mortar attack in Iraq, joined the Army in 2007
Published: Oct 28, 2008 08:43AM
Pfc. Cody Eggleston — C.J. to those who loved him — was a big kid at heart, enjoyed roughhousing with his uncles, making his sisters laugh, dirt biking, hunting, fishing and watching movies. His family and friends can hardly grasp that he’s gone.
Eggleston, who was born in Eugene and grew up in Redmond, died Friday of injuries suffered in an Oct. 16 mortar attack in Baquba, Iraq. He was 21.
“This is not something a parent should ever have to do,” said his mother, Angie Jackson, who lives in north Eugene and works at Murphy Plywood.
Jackson got to spend time with her son before he died at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. His spinal cord was severed and shrapnel had penetrated his brain and chest, she said. He never regained consciousness and died shortly after family members had left his bedside in the intensive care unit at the hospital, she said.
Jackson said her son received extraordinary care from the hospital’s doctors and nurses.
“I feel completely confident knowing they tried everything to save my son,” she said.
Eggleston joined the Army in 2007 after finishing up four high school credits he needed to graduate at North Eugene Alternative High School. He previously had attended Redmond High School.
He had family in Oregon, Alaska and North Carolina. After his parents divorced, he moved to Redmond where he was raised by his father, Walter Eggleston, and his stepmother, Vicky Eggleston. With his family, he often visited relatives in Alaska.
Cody Eggleston married Karie Alford of North Carolina in June. After joining the Army, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks.
The 4,200-member Stryker Brigade deployed to Kuwait in mid-September and went to Iraq this month.
The mortar attack that fatally injured Eggleston killed another soldier and injured nine, according to a U.S. Army news release.
The men were working on a Stryker vehicle — an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier — on a base when the attack occurred.
Jackson said she tried to talk her son into joining a different branch of the military because she worried that he would be sent to Iraq. She even went secretly to the Eugene recruiting office to see if she could talk recruiters out of taking her only son. She thought there might be a law preventing only sons from going to war but learned that there isn’t.
She and her son exchanged e-mails regularly.
“I was always telling him: ‘Please be careful.’ He always said, ‘Don’t worry.’ ”
Eggleston’s half-sister Trina Jackson, 17, said her brother enjoyed making his younger siblings laugh. He once donned a woman’s bikini, had his picture taken and posted it on his MySpace page, she said.
And he was a film buff, enjoying movies of all genres, from kid films such as “Pokemon” to action adventures.
“He loved old Westerns. He could say the lines of some of them, he’d watched them so many times,” she said.
Eggleston had a knack for seeing the bright side and sharing his upbeat perspective with others, said friend Kaitlyn Kite, 16.
“If I was stressing over school, he would be able to put it in a different light and I’d feel better,” she said.
The last time she saw him was in December, right after basic training and just before he headed to Alaska.
“He was excited about going for more training and about going to Iraq,” Kite said. “I was stressed about it but I knew that’s what he wanted to do.”
The family is planning a service for Eggleston in Redmond on Saturday, but details aren’t yet finalized.