Citadel classroom dedicated to fallen soldier
The life and service of a Cape Coral solider killed over a decade ago while stationed overseas was etched into another chapter of military history earlier this month at The Citadel.
U.S. Army Capt. Daniel W. Eggers, 28, died May 29, 2004, near Kandahar, Afghanistan, when the vehicle he was in struck an IED. Three other personnel with him – Spc. Joseph A. Jeffries, Sgt. 1st Class Robert J. Morgensen and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Brian J. Ouellette – were also killed.
On Sept. 5, a ceremony was held to dedicate the Eggers Army ROTC Classroom at The Citadel, in South Carolina. He was commissioned in May 1997 after graduating from the military college.
“A lot of Danny’s buds from the class heard about what was going on and showed up,” his father, William “Bill” Eggers, said. “There were so many people that they had to change their plans.”
The dedication had to be relocated from Jenkins Hall to the theater.
“There were people who were invited and some dignitaries,” Bill said. “And there were so many from his class that showed up that weren’t invited – it was really something.”
Margaret Eggers, his mother, noted that some came with their parents.
“They all thought very highly of Danny and that’s why they came,” she said. “It was very emotional.”
Bill explained that two plaques were dedicated during the ceremony – a new one, and one from March 2005 that commemorated the renaming of the Kabul Compound in Afghanistan to Camp Eggers in honor of his son, a former Green Beret. With the camp’s closing, the plaque required a new home.
“I think that was a very fitting place and the best place for it to go,” Margaret said.
“That school meant a lot to him,” she said, adding that it was her son’s first pick in high school. “He thought that it was the best choice for him – he was very proud to have graduated from there.”
Her husband echoed that.
“It just seemed to be natural that it be placed at The Citadel. It seemed the right thing to have that plaque find a home at The Citadel,” Bill said. “We were all in total agreement with that.”
According to a recent prepared statement from the college, all senior Army ROTC cadets will pass through the classroom – by the plaques – before being commissioned in the footsteps of Eggers.
“He never would have sought the recognition because he was just a very humble person,” Margaret said. “It’s keeping his memory alive, but also they’ll know who he was and what he stood for.”
Her husband noted that the cadets will also be reminded of the risks.
“The family made a great sacrifice as to what he did and what happened,” Bill said.
A Vietnam veteran himself, Bill explained that his son’s unit had narrowed in on and confronted a targeted group of suspects on the day of his death. As the unit was rounding up the individuals, they received information that some had escaped. It was in pursuit of the others that they hit the IED.
Bill called the dedication almost the “final chapter” in his son’s life.
“It was a joyful and it was a tearful event,” he said.
Margaret described the experience through her son.
“In his own words, he had said to us before one of the deployments – he said, ‘No matter what happens, I’ll always be with you,'” she said.
Capt. Eggers completed his Special Forces training in 2002. In May 2003, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). He worked with the Combined Joint Task Force.
He is survived by his wife, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Rebecca Lynn Eggers, and two sons, John Joseph Eggers and William Howard Eggers. His widow remarried two years ago and has an infant daughter.
Eggers was a graduate from Cape Coral High School.
He was one of seven children born to William “Bill” and Margaret Eggers. Their youngest child, Rosemary Eggers, graduated from The Citadel in May. The couple also have 11 grandchildren.