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Media Release

Fallen U.S. Soldier Returns to Yap

May 19, 2010

On May 15, the remains of U.S. Army Specialist Eric M. Finniginam, 26, arrived at Yap International Airport on a U.S. Military C-17 aircraft. SPC Finniginam died on May 1 when insurgents fired mortar rounds into Forward Operating Base Blessing, in the eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan. A U.S. Military Honor Guard Team escorted the remains to the Finniginam Residence in Fiteburey, Dalipebinaw, where they remained for viewing.

On Monday, a memorial service was held at St. Mary’s Church in Colonia. Father John Hagileiram led the service, and special remarks were provided by U.S. Ambassador Peter A. Prahar and U.S. Military Major General Donald J. Goldhorn. In his speech, Ambassador Prahar remarked, “Everyone I’ve talked to about [SPC. Finniginam] has spoken of the energy and joy he brought to everything he did and to those around him. . . . At times like today [the U.S. and F.S.M] are indeed one family, sharing both our pride in Eric’s courage and our sorrow at his loss.” Major General Goldhorn then presented SPC Finniginam’s military awards to his wife, Ms. Annie Darngun Tilig, and his father, Mr. Robert P. Finniginam.

A motorcade escorted the remains to the Burial Service at Amraw Cemetery in Dalipebinaw. Father Hagileiram presided over the brief service, while the Honor Guard performed full military honors of firing of volleys and Taps. Major General Goldhorn conducted the Presentation of Flags to the late-SPC Finniginam’s father and wife. SPC Finniginam was then laid to his eternal rest.

Specialist Eric Finniginam joined the military in 2008. He trained at Fort Carson, Colorado, and deployed to Afghanistan in June 2009. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. During his exemplary military service, Specialist Finniginam earned a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, an Army Commendation Medal for valor, and an Army Achievement Medal.

Specialist Finniginam is survived by his wife Annie Darngun Tilig, daughter Alexa, father Robert, mother Lily, sisters Roxanne, Maxine, Rhonda and Yolanda, and brothers Ryan and Julius G. Ingram-Finniginam.