Army Sergeant First Class Eric Michael Emond was mourned Thursday in his hometown of Fall River, where the school superintendent called the Special Forces sergeant “the very best of our nation.”
Emond, 39, was killed by a roadside bomb in Andar, Afghanistan, Tuesday along with two comrades, Army Captain Andrew Ross, 29, and Air Force Staff Sergeant Dylan J. Elchin, 25, according to the Defense Department.
Matthew H. Malone, head of the Fall River schools, said in a statement that Emond was a friend who, despite serving seven tours of duty overseas, still managed to find time to help create a nonprofit, Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, and was active on veterans’ issues.
“I know Eric Emond from his work in the veterans’ community and I am proud to call him my friend. Eric’s life and commitment to service exemplifies both the Motto of the United States Marine Corps — Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful), as well as the Motto of United States Army Special Forces — De Oppresso Liber (To Free the Oppressed),’’ Malone wrote.
He said Emond was a student at the city’s Osborn and Healy elementary schools, the Henry Lord middle school, and Durfee High School. “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,’’ Malone wrote.
As a sophomore in 1996, Emond moved to Arkansas, where he attended high school, Malone wrote.
Emond was a two-time recipient of the Purple Heart who was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism three times. He was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, along with more than a dozen others. He was assigned to First Battalion, Third Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Bragg, according to the department.
“Sgt. Emond has a lengthy and honorable military service record, first as a United States Marine and then as a member of the United States Army Special Forces,’’ Malone wrote. “Sgt. Emond was highly decorated for heroic actions under fire during his multiple combat deployments.”
Emond was a married father of three. At one time, he lived on Stock Street in Dorchester, but most recently, he lived in Brush Prairie, Wash., according to an Army spokesman.
Massachusetts Fallen Heroes is a nonprofit formed by combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan that assists veterans and offers a network of support for Gold Star families.
Malone said the combination of military service along with his commitment to Gold Star families when not deployed showed Emond’s devotion to his country and to his fellow citizens.
Malone described Emond as “a warrior — a gentleman — one of the very best our nation has called on to serve in the defense of our core values.’’Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.