Donald W Eacho

When he called home from Iraq, Donald Eacho left long messages on the answering machine, taking care to pause so his 5-year-old son could talk back to it. The little boy didn’t know the voice was recorded. Now Eacho’s wife Bonnie plays the messages over and over to hear his voice again. “I loved being married to him,” she said. “He was my best friend.” Eacho, 38, who lived with his family in Watertown, N.Y., was killed March 4 in Ramadi, Iraq, with three other soldiers when an explosive detonated near their patrol. He was stationed at Fort Carson. He is survived by his wife and two sons. The 17-year Army veteran grew up in Wisconsin, listed his hometown as Black Creek, Wis., with the Army. He joined the National Guard in his senior year of high school and signed up for the Army not long after graduation. “It made him feel good doing something important,” said his mother, Diane. In 2003, he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, an Army honor for heroism away from the battlefield, for rescuing a 4-year-old girl and her grandfather when they were trapped in an overturned car.

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Black Creek
Age: 38
Incident Location: Ramadi, Iraq
Branch: Army
Rank: Sgt. 1st Class
Unit: 1st Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team
Units Base: Fort Carson, Colorado