Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Gavin L Neighbor

Somerset, Ohio

June 10, 2003

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Army Cpl

Company C, 3rd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division

Fort Bragg, North carolina

Baghdad, Iraq.  Neighbor was  in a bus when a rocket propelled grenade round was fired from a nearby house.  Neighbor died as a result of his wounds.

From Steven Shawn Dove 08/24/04

He was on duty at the time, but was in the bus because it was the only form of ballistic protection allocated at his place of duty, which was a trash collection site. At the time it was also used as a weapons amnesty point, meaning if an Iraqi did come toward the area with a weapon, we were not allowed to shoot, or shoot at them unless they fired first. Note, the local Iraqi police stations also served as amnesty points and furthermore only one weapon was turned in at the trash sites vs. the hundreds turned in at the police stations. The trash collection point was basically an open field more than 300 meters long, and 100 meters wide. Two RPGs were fired by two separate men, who got out of a van, about 200 meters from the bus along a major road, and fired upon the bus. The first round hit Neighbor in the head, shattering his ballistic helmet, but the round did not explode. The second hit just outside the bus, sending shrapnel into the bus, further injuring him, and one of his teammates. I know this because I was one of the medics from 3/ 325 AIR on quick response who arrived on site and moved with the convoy to the 407th AID station, where I witnessed his death as the medical bird was landing to take him to higher medical care. Our team of Combat life savers, Combat Medics, PA's and Surgeons kept him alive for over half an hour after the attack, which was nothing short of miraculous in and of itself. This is what really happened.

AP News

At Gavin L. Neighbor's funeral, his uncle thanked his fellow paratroopers for helping to make him what he was. "And they said, 'He helped make us what we are,' " said Mike Bonham. Neighbor, from Somerset, Ohio, and stationed at Fort Bragg, died June 10 after being hit by enemy fire in Baghdad. Survivors include his mother, Cathy, and stepfather, Willie Neighbor.

From The Charlotte Observer:

A couple of Neighbor's fellow paratroopers already home early from Iraq felt guilty that Neighbor had died, his uncle said.

"I thanked them for helping make him what he was. And they said, `He helped make us what we are,' " Mike Bonham said after Neighbor's funeral.

Neighbor, 20, from Somerset, Ohio, and stationed at Fort Bragg, died June 10 after being hit by enemy fire in Baghdad.

Brandy Hammond, who met Neighbor in the eighth grade, said she was sure her best friend had lived his dream.

"Ever since I met him, all he wanted was to be in the Army," she said. "He wanted to be the one to assassinate Saddam."

Neighbor's mother, Cathy, said her son had hoped to join the elite Army Rangers. "He loved what he was doing," she said.

"He loved making me proud," stepfather Willie Neighbor said, clenching a plaque his stepson sent home after earning his paratrooper wings.

 

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