NORWAY – The recent surge of violence in Iraq has claimed the life of another soldier from Maine.
Army Sgt. Corey Dan, 22, who was a member of the 101st Airborne Division, died without ever seeing his son, who was born on the December day his father departed for his second tour of duty in Iraq, said Sharon Bouchard, his grandmother.
A military clergyman and an officer visited Dan’s mother and stepfather at their home in Norway on Tuesday morning, Bouchard said.
“It’s an incredible loss,” she said. “It’s a senseless, incredible loss. It’s a senseless war and it’s creating senseless losses.”
Dan joined the Army in 2001, the year he graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. He was first deployed to Iraq in 2003.
He re-enlisted last summer and intended to go to college after leaving the military with the goal of becoming a police officer.
Dan told his family after his first tour in Iraq about his concerns for Iraqi children, Bouchard said. “He was so concerned for the Iraqi children he would see, with everything going on,” she told the Sun Journal newspaper in Lewiston.
His son Austin was born as Dan shipped out for Iraq. Dan asked to take some time to be with his girlfriend in Indianapolis as she went into labor, but officials declined to release him, Bouchard said.
Lynda Knowlton, teacher at Oxford Hills, said Dan was set on joining the military when he left high school. Knowlton, who was in the military herself, said she formed a close attachment to him, especially after he left school and joined the Army.
“He was gung-ho,” Knowlton said. “He was thrilled to go to the military.”
The circumstances of Dan’s death were unclear, but the family was told he died on Monday. The Associated Press reported that a soldier killed by a roadside bomb was among more than 15 people who died during violence Monday.
Dan reassured his family that he was safe in Iraq because he sat behind a desk all day.
“Every time he came home, he would comfort us,” Bouchard said.