by Rose-Anne Clermont
- Germany -
When Pam’s fiancé, Charles, was deployed on his second tour to Iraq in December of 2004, he feared what awaited him. On his first tour, a year prior, he had witnessed the chaos and the bloodshed, the friends who didn’t return home. Charles had escaped with a shot to his jaw the first time, but, preparing for the worst, he gave Pam power of attorney for his belongings. Still, in a hopeful moment before his deployment from Fort Bragg, Charles put an engagement ring on Pam’s finger. “I cried all night when he left,” remembers Pam.
• When they were lucky, Pam and Charles had a half hour each day to talk (on his cell phone or via instant messages) about the life they’d been planning together, the house they had bought, and their garden that Pam had been tending. So when Pam hadn’t heard from Charles in nearly three days, her spirit, she says, told her something was wrong. “My stomach ached for three days,” Pam remembers. “I just knew that something had happened.” Because they weren’t yet married, it was Charles’ mother, not Pam, who received the call that he had been killed in the line of duty.
Sgt. Charles Eggleston with friends in Iraq. •
Seven months after he’d said goodbye to Pam, Charles’ front-line unit was hit by an IED in Mosul. Six of his fellow soldiers died in the attack and, amidst the confusion, Charles, known as Sgt. Charles Eggleston, was counted amongst the dead. The call to Charles’ mother had been a mistake — one that Pam had been lucky enough not to know about until she’d finally talked to Charles again, three days after the attack.