Let the memory of Sgt. David be with us forever
  • 26 years old
  • Born on March 10, 1977 .
  • Passed away on September 20, 2003 .

26, of Hammond, N.Y.; assigned to B Company, 325th Military Intelligence Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, Waterbury, Conn.; killed Sept. 20 in a mortar attack in Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

Naugatuck reservist killed in Iraq

By Matt Apuzzo

Associated Press

A Naugatuck, Conn., man serving in the Army reserves has been killed in Iraq, the military said Sept. 23.

Sgt. David Travis Friedrich was killed Sept. 20, said Eric Hurwitz, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Reserve in Ayer, Mass.

Friedrich and another soldier died when mortars hit a U.S. base near the Abu Ghraib prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad about 10 p.m. Thirteen other soldiers were injured in the attack. No prisoners were injured.

“We are deeply saddened by his death and we appreciate the thoughts and prayers of our fellow Americans,” Friedrich’s parents, David and Beth Friedrich, said in a statement released through Army officials at Fort Drum. “Travis was a great son and a wonderful person and we will miss him greatly.”

Beth Friedrich spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

“One of the things that comforts us is we had a really wonderful relationship with Travis,” she said. “We never had those bad times that parents have with kids. Last time we saw him at Christmas, we said ‘I love you.’ I don’t feel there was any unfinished business.”

Friedrich, 26, was serving with the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion out of Waterbury. He was deployed in February and was linked with the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, which is based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

He was working on a master’s degree in forensic science at the University of New Haven and working full time at a factory in Waterbury when he was called into active duty.

Beth Friedrich said her son never intended to have a military career. He enlisted to help pay for graduate school, she said.

Growing up in rural upstate New York with two older sisters, Friedrich was a natural leader, his mother said. He helped recruit students for the Gouverneur High School cross-country team and made the often-grueling sport fun, she said.

Friedrich came up with the idea for “Judgment Day,” which remains a tradition at the high school. Runners eat as much as they can, then go on a long run to see who can stomach it, Beth Friedrich said.

“Kids joined the cross country team because he made it fun,” she said. He had that kind of personality. He was that kind of leader. He could get people to do things.”

Shirley Sandora, 75, had rented a room in her Seymour home to Friedrich.

“He was a very busy man. He worked all day,” she said. “I remember he always had his shoes lined up, very precise, everything in order.”

She remembers asking him once whether military service was demanding.

“He said he always liked to carry his own share of the load,” she said.

Sandora remembered Friedrich as compassionate. He expanded her driveway because he hated blocking her car in with his.

“I had a golden retriever, and she wouldn’t listen to me for beans,” Sandora said. “He had her trained to come whenever he called, even with just a whistle.”

He moved from Seymour to Naugatuck, where he was living until he was deployed, UNH officials and Sandora said.

Friedrich majored in criminal justice and chemistry at Brockport (N.Y.) State College, where he was a co-captain of the cross-country team his senior year.

Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, who ordered all state flags lowered to half-staff until Thursday evening, said Friedrich was selfless and courageous.

“Sgt. Friedrich’s sacrifice for the independence of another nation sets a timeless example of courage and devotion to duty for all future generations,” Rowland said.

Beth Friedrich said her son often surprised her with his intelligence.

“I just thought of him as my little boy,” she said.

Friedrich is the fifth member of the military from Connecticut to die in Iraq.

Army Staff Sgt. Richard S. Eaton Jr., 37, a counterintelligence officer from Guilford, died in his sleep on Aug. 10.

Army Spc. Wilfredo Perez Jr., 24, of Norwalk died July 26 during a grenade attack as he was guarding a children’s hospital just north of Baghdad.

Marine Cpl. Kemaphoom Chanawongse, 22, of Waterford and Gunnery Sgt. Philip A. Jordan, 42, of Enfield were both killed March 23 during firefights outside the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.


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