Thursday, June 21, 2007

Eric L. Snell dies 'of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with insurgents using small arms fire'

The Fort Carson soldier always loved baseball.

So in May, Eric L. Snell's mother sent him a special package - his gloves, baseballs and sneakers.

Snell wanted to have them to pass the time between his patrol duty, his mother, Mittie White, of Trenton, N.J., said Wednesday.

Snell died Monday in Balad, Iraq, from wounds inflicted by insurgent small-arms fire. The 35-year-old soldier, with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, was on his first deployment in Iraq.

The New Jersey native joined the Army in August 2005 and was sent to Iraq in October 2006.

"He had done basically a little bit of everything in life, and he was doing just one more thing," said White, 63. "He knew the job was dangerous, but he said, 'That's life.' "

Snell was a center fielder for his high school baseball team and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1989. He chose to attend college instead, his mother said.

Snell, who had spent two years in South Africa and Italy as a clothing model, hoped that his time in the Army would land him a job in Homeland Security or the FBI, his mother said.

White said that when she saw her son for the last time, in January, he was upbeat, spending time with his two sons, 17 and 4.

"He said he'd see us in October," White said.

The last time Snell's family heard from him was on the day he died. In the e-mail exchange, his oldest son, Shameer, wished him happy Father's Day.

Snell responded by thanking his son and asking about his grades at school, White said.

"He told him that he loved everyone, tell everyone that he's doing OK and hello," White said.

From the Rocky Mountain News