SSGT CHRIS ENGELDRUM
FIRE DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK CITY
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS POST #12033
War veterans of the FDNY have started a VFW Post with SSGT Engeldrum as our memorial namesake. Below is the story of his life of heroism...
A NEW YORK CITY firefighter who rescued survivors from the rubble of the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks has been killed in Iraq, US officials said yesterday. Chris Engeldrum, 39, an Army National Guardsman and father of two, is the first New York firefighter to die in Iraq out of the 103 who have been activated since 9/11. Mr Engeldrum, a former New York policeman who fought in the first Gulf War as a regular soldier, died when his Humvee came under attack outside Baghdad on Monday. His National Guard convoy was protecting a bridge from insurgents believed to have fled from the US offensive in Fallujah. Three Guard soldiers were killed in the attack and 16 were injured, including another New York firefighter, 24-year-old Daniel Swift, authorities said. Mr Swift was in the same Humvee as Mr Engeldrum and received shrapnel in his face. Calling Mr Engeldrum a "New York hero," Michael Bloomberg, the citys mayor, said: "Theres nothing you can say, other than heres somebody who risked his life every day to protect us on the streets of New York, and felt he had an obligation to go overseas and to fight to protect the rest of us. All of us have lost something." Mr Engeldrums widow, Sharon, who was telephoned by Mr Bloomberg, said yesterday that all the jobs her husband had taken were dangerous. He joined the regular Army in 1986 and served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division in the first Gulf War. He left the regular Army in 1991, but joined the New York Police Department in 1997, before he was accepted two years later by his "first love", the citys Fire Department, Mrs Engeldrum told the New York Post."He just wanted to serve," she said. "He felt an obligation to his guys, whether he was in the Fire Department or the National Guard." The couple were married in 1987 and have two sons, Sean, 18, and Royce, who turned 16 the day his father was killed. His wife said that on September 11, 2001 he rushed to the twin towers with his fire company, arriving just as the first tower was collapsing. She added that he was surprised when he was reactivated by the Army in May to serve in Iraq. "He felt he could do something back here. But they called him up, and he said, You gotta do what you gotta do." She continued: "He was the ultimate patriot. He loved his country. He loved his Fire Department. He went to the Gulf War and made it through that. He went through 9/11 and made it. He died doing something he believed in." At the Bronx fire station where Mr Engeldrum served, known as Ladder 61, his colleagues set up a makeshift memorial, draping his helmet and jacket over an American flag on the stations back wall. Outside they had taken down a banner that said "We Support Our Troops, F. R. Engeldrum, L-61 now serving," to replace it with the black and purple colours of mourning. They also laid out a framed flag that had been sent to Mr Engeldrum in 2002 by some old friends in the 101st Airborne, when they were serving in Afghanistan. "He was dedicated at everything he did. He gave nothing less than 100 per cent," Mike Schiraldi, a fellow firefighter, said. "He was the guy you wanted behind you in a fire." Mark Klingner, another colleague, said: "He was all about the Army, he was all about the Fire Department. He was the core of the firehouse."
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Website last updated :January 11th 2011