Eric EmondArmy Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, was one of three killed on Tuesday, Nov. 27 when an explosive device detonated during combat operations in the Ghazni province, according to the Department of Defense.
Emond, who had most recently lived in Brush Creek, Washington, had wrestled at BMC Durfee High School, a public 9-12 high school in Fall River, Massachusetts, until his family moved to Arkansas after he had completed his sophomore year.
"Sgt. Emond had a strong track record of academic success throughout his tenure in the Fall River Public Schools and was a member of the Durfee High School wrestling team," Fall River Schools Superintendent Matthew Malone told WPRI.
Malone said he knew Emond personally from Emond's work in the veterans' community, including the co-founding of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes organization that supports Gold Star families and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Malone described Emond as a warrior and a gentleman, exemplifying the mottoes of the United States Marine Corps, "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful) and the U.S. Army Special Forces, "De Opresso Liber" (To Free the Oppressed).
Emond was killed last week -- along with Capt. Andrew Ross and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin -- when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device in Andar, about 70 miles from the Pakistani border in an area where the Taliban have been resurgent.
The Department of Defense said Emond had more than 21 years of service between the Marine Corps and Army, and was on his seventh overseas tour.
Emond's awards and decorations include three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, two NATO Achievement Medals, four Afghanistan Campaign Medals, a NATO Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, two Overseas Service Ribbons, a National Defense Service Medal, Special Forces and Ranger tabs, a Combat Infantry Badge and a Combat Action Badge In addition, Emond was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.
Emond is survived by his wife and three children.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be made public.