Tuesday, May 01, 2007

William J. Callahan killed 'while conducting combat operations'

EASTON, Mass.— The Marine from Easton killed in Iraq was a new father who was remembered by his relatives as a hero who loved the outdoors, his country and his family.

"Bill was a hero to all of us and I feel fortunate and blessed to have spent the last 10 years of my life with him," his widow, Amy Callahan, wrote in a brief statement issued Tuesday.

Callahan's father, Joseph Callahan III, told The Enterprise of Brockton that Amy gave birth to a son three weeks ago.

"His wife meant the world to him," he said.

Callahan joined the Marine Corps in 2002 and was assigned to the company in 2005 after being trained in explosives disposal.

The Marine Corps Engineer Association named him the Marine Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician of the Year. He earned the citation for disarming an improvised explosive device in November 2005 while another bomb exploded under his vehicle and killed two Marines. He helped save others injured in the blast, then returned to investigate the bombs used in the attack while still being fired at.

He also received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and was deployed to Iraq for a second time earlier this year.

"He re-enlisted because he and the people he was with believed in our country," his father said. "They believed it was worth standing up for."

But his grandmother remembered him as a boy who grew up playing basketball, riding dirt bikes and enjoying the outdoors.

"To us ... he was Billy," she said.

From the Worcester Telegram