Remembering Rangers Who Have Made the Ultimate Sacrifice
75th Ranger Regiment
Information and Sentiments
Army Pfc. Eric Hario, 19, of Monroe died Friday in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Sunday.
Pfc. Hario, an Army Ranger, had been in the central Asian country for only three weeks, his brother, Mark Hario, said Sunday. The family had spoken to the soldier the day before he was killed.
The Department of Defense did not release details of how Pfc. Hario died. His remains were to be flown to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday night. A funeral is tentatively scheduled for Monday.
A 2008 graduate of Monroe High School, Pfc. Hario was on the school’s football and wrestling teams.
Carter Lanning was Pfc. Hario’s best friend for most of their lives, perhaps a predestined camaraderie with their birthdays 24 hours apart, Dec. 9 for Pfc. Hario and Dec. 10 for the 19-year-old Saginaw Valley State student.
“We’d … spend a lot of time at his house and out and about,” he recalled Sunday. “He was just always a happy, a really bubbly person.”
By enlisting after high school, Pfc. Hario was following tradition. His father was in the Navy and his oldest brother, Robert Hario, is in the Army. Mark Hario said Pfc. Hario planned to stay in the service “for some time.”
“He just wanted to be a Special Forces guy,” Mark Hario said. Lanning said Pfc. Hario ultimately dreamed of being an FBI agent or a police officer, but “he’s wanted to go be in the military ever since … sixth grade.”
In addition to his brothers, Pfc. Hario is survived by his parents, James and Rebecca Hario, and his grandparents, Mary Fauerbach and John and Colleen Hario.
Click here to read the article in the Monoroe News.
The words “hero” and “Hario” were used interchangeably Monday as Monroe County laid to rest Pfc. Eric W. Hario, a 19-year-old Army Ranger from Monroe who died in a fierce battle in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan late last month.
Pfc. Hario was buried with full military honors at Roselawn Memorial Park in a ceremony that drew hundreds.
“He did not fight in vain. He did not die in vain,” said Chaplain Dave Bowles of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He described Pfc. Hario as a soldier who fought for his flag and country and who set a fine example for everyone.
The chaplain said Eric, the son of James and Rebecca Hario of Monroe, was the first member of the 75th Ranger Regiment from Michigan to die in the Afghan war. He was shot in the neck in the early stages of a fierce 20-hour firefight in a mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan, Army officials said.
Chaplain Bowles said Pfc. Hario “gave 100 percent and then some as he served with America’s most elite infantry unit, the Army Rangers.”
As the procession of about 100 vehicles traveled down S. Dixie Hwy. to the cemetery, people lined the street along the route, holding hands over their hearts, saluting, doffing their hats, holding signs or waving flags.
A bagpiper and the traditional 21-gun salute were part of the graveside ceremony at the LaSalle cemetery as somber-faced soldiers folded the flag that draped Pfc. Hario’s silver casket and presented it to his mother. Pfc. Hario’s older brother, Robert, an Army specialist, stood and saluted as “Taps” was bugled.
Throngs of mourners surrounded the gravesite near the boughs of a spreading shade tree at the cemetery as an overcast sky periodically shed tear-sized drops of rain.
Earlier, during a funeral Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Monroe, Pfc. Hario was described as a hero who always dreamed of becoming a soldier.
“Pfc. Eric Hario is one of our nation’s heroes,” Col. Michael (Erik) Kurilla, 75th Regiment commander, told those attending the funeral. “He died fighting our nation’s enemies in the mountains of Afghanistan.”
He died while fighting an enemy that is “ideologically opposed to everything we stand for,” Col. Kurilla said. “Let us thank God that such men as Eric have lived.”
The Rev. Marc Gawronski of St. Mary said that Pfc. Hario was living his lifelong dream. “Eric had a dream to become a soldier. From the age of 5, that’s what he wanted to do. He never lost sight of that dream. He made that dream come true and he did everything he could to pursue that dream.
“He died living that dream and protecting his country. Eric has become our hero and for that we will always be grateful.”
He said the young soldier was an inspiration to all who pursue their dreams.
“He showed us what it takes to live one’s dream,” he said. “Even though that dream challenged his mind, body and spirit, he stayed true to that dream.”
The Rev. Gawronski also drew a comparison between Pfc. Hario’s love of country to God’s love – “the love that lays down its life for us all.”
During the funeral, the Rev. Gawronski read a letter written by Mrs. Hario, who tearfully sat nearby.
Described as a last letter to her dead son, she recalled how his love of sports — he was in varsity wrestling and football in high school — helped prepare him to be a Ranger. He was strong and would move furniture in the house when needed, cart in groceries, and she remembered when he lifted her on his shoulder and carried her around.
“You were a wonderful young man. Everyone who knew you loved you,” she wrote.
When he became part of the elite Rangers, she thought, “My goodness, at 19 my son has met his life’s goal.”
She also recalled the dread when Army officers came to her door early on the morning of Aug. 29 to inform her of her son’s death.
“It was like time had stopped,” she wrote. “It quickly turned into the worst day of our life.”
In the letter, Mrs. Hario also described how she spoke with Eric on the phone the night before he went into the fateful battle.
He had told her “no matter what happens, I love you all very much and, Mom, you are always in my heart.”
She also had a message for parents attending the funeral: “No matter what age your children are, make sure you hug them tight and tell them you love them each day because, as we know from our experience here, we never know when their last day will be.”
Hundreds of mourners paid their respects to the soldier during two days of visitation at Rupp Funeral Home. Among them was U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Dearborn, who visited Saturday and said he was deeply saddened by the young man’s death. The funeral home was surrounded by 50 large American flags posted by a contingent of motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders. The group attends funerals around the region, and its members held the large flags outside the church during the funeral.
Pfc. Hario’s friends, classmates and teachers, as well as the Monroe High School football team dressed in their red-and-white jerseys, attended the funeral. Expressions of sorrow and sympathy abounded.
Monroe High students painted the school’s “Spirit Rock” near the school’s parking lot entrance in a camouflage design that said “R.I.P. Eric Hario.” Spray-painted on the parking lot was “We miss you, Eric Hario.”
Vehicles in the funeral procession were adorned with sayings, including one that said, “A brave soldier and loyal friend. We will miss you.”
My heartfelt prayers are with PFC Hario’s family, friends and fellow soldiers, especially his parents. I can only begin to understand the pain that you are feeling right now at the loss of this great hero. I too have a child serving in the military, so I want you to know how when I heard about the death of your son, my heart went out to you!! May God give you strength to endure this pain you are feeling now and peace when you remember your wonderful son. He is truly a hero and now he is with God watching all of us. Also may it comfort you to know that someday you will be with him again, in Paradise.
God protect and shield all of our military men and women at home and abroad.
— Posted by Military Mom Joy on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 5:35 pm EST
We miss you Eric….
Always loved, Never forgotten, Forever a hero.
I have never in my life seen the amount of respect I saw during his funeral. Everyone along the streets hands over their hearts, every car stopped along the road.. He touched so many people. I am eternally grateful to you. A true hero, and a great friend.
— Posted by grateful on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 3:55 pm EST
I am a co-worker of PFC Hario’s father. I cannot imagine the pain you and your beloved wife and family feel. Mr. and Mrs. Hario I wish you and your family my sincerest condolences. If Eric were here, I would be honored to shake his hand and say thank you. We have lost one of our own here from Monroe.
Rest In Peace, PFC Eric Hario. You are gone, but not forgotten.
— Posted by FormerJet73 on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 3:53 pm EST
Thank you Pfc.Hario for your sacrifice for our country. I also having a son serving our country who just returned from Iraq. May God Bless our men and women who serve. To all parents hug your children everyday , tell them you love them too.
— Posted by a soldiers mom on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 2:10 pm EST
PFC Eric Hario,
From one deployed soldier to another – we will never forget the sacrifice you and your family have made for our country.
Not many people have the courage and honor to serve their nation and lay down their life for freedom, you are a TRUE AMERICAN HERO.
The words “thank you” are not enough for what you have done to preserve our freedom and the freedom of our future generations.
You give soldiers like myself the will and fortitude to keep pressing on here in Afghanistan – your death will not be in vain and we will never forget!
a fellow sister in arms
— Posted by RK on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 11:18 am EST
To the family of Eric: This most unfortunate incident brings me to tears. I cannot convey the sympathy I feel for your entire family. As we all know, the cost of FREEDOM is not free at all! My nephew is a Marine in Afghan right this very second and also did a tour in Iraq before this. I am sooo proud that I have a family member protecting the rights of all Americans. I believe that if my nephew were to parish, he would want his family to go on with living because by his own ‘free will’ he lays down his life everyday for us. GOD BLESS ALL OF OUR UNITED STATES SOLDIERS!
— Posted by PROUD AMERICAN on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 11:03 am EST
Thank You Eric Hario for protecting our country and giving the ultimate sacrifice. I salute you!!!
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
— Posted by Debi123 on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 8:24 am EST
I want to thank Eric and his family as well for the ultimate sacrifice. I know these are the hardest times in your life, just remember what a hero he is to not only the people of this country but also to you. I served with men like Eric for 4 years and i will tell you this, the men and women who serve this great nation deserve to be honored everyday for the things they do to keep us free. To Eric and his family GOD Bless and GODSPEED.
— Posted by Ken on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, 8:07 am EST
HOW VERY SAD THAT ONE OF OUR OWN HAD TO PAY FOR HIS LIFE! I NEVER MET YOU ERIC BUT U ARE TRULY A HERO. MAY U REST IN PEACE ALWAYS, AND LOOK DOWN UPON US AND PLEASE WATCH OVER AND PROTECT YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS STILL FIGHTING, ONE HAPPENS TO BE MY DEAREST NEPHEW MICHAEL INGRAM JR. WE LOVE YOU MIKIE, PLEASE COME HOME SAFE! WE ARE ALL WAITING FOR YOU. FOR ERIC’S FAMILY: MY DEEPEST SYMPHATHY GOES OUT TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU, I CANT EVEN BEGIN TO IMAGINE WHAT U ARE ALL FEELING AND HOPE AND PRAY I NEVER WILL. PEACE BE WITH YOU. THANK YOU ERIC AND MIKIE AND FOR ALL OF OUR BRAVE SOLDIERS WHO HAVE FOUGHT AND ARE STILL FIGHTING FOR OUR FREEDOM. YOU WILL ALL BE RE-PAID SOMEDAY IN A VERY BIG WAY.
— Posted by Frenchy on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 8:56 pm EST
Some Gave and Some Gave All!
With my deepest respect, For Family and You
Thank You and
— Posted by Gone Baby Gone on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 7:41 pm EST
It is at the greatest possible cost that Monroe and our country now has it’s newest hero. It is my greatest wish and prayer that our world would change so that sacrifices such as Eric’s and his family would never need to be realized. However, if not for men such as Eric, the rest of us would not have the freedom we enjoy. Thank you for your ultimate service to our country and way of life.
— Posted by Military Supporter on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 4:12 pm EST
MY DEAREST ERIC….
You are now with the most elite squad. Look down upon us and keep us safe as you did so well.
TO ERIC’S PARENTS AND FAMILY
My deepest sympathy for the loss of your son and loved one. He truly gave his all. May you be blessed each and every day with his fond memories and how he allowed our continued freedom.
— Posted by LadyIsFine on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 3:29 pm EST
As I look out my window at work and look at cars passing by I think to myself-how lucky we are, we can get in a car, go down the road and not worry about bombs in the road or being targeted by enemy gunfire. This young man, as well as many, many more have given their lives so we can live without those fears, I hope all of us realize the debt we owe our service men……Bless them all.
— Posted by J Marshall on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 3:19 pm EST
This message is coming from Florida. We feel the loss of a young elite soldier from our hometown. I never met you Eric, it is without a doubt in my mind you are a great person and a hero to everyone…which also includes all of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends dedicating their lives to our wonderful nation. Eric IS the face of Valor, and really shows what it means to be an American. May you rest in Peace, and thank you for upholding the right for us all to live free.
To Eric’s family, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for supporting Eric in fighting for our country. Although he has passed, he will live on in the hearts of many.
— Posted by tmb on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 2:18 pm EST
Eric — I never met you but I will never again think about the freedoms I enjoy without thinking of young men like you who gave the “last full measure of devotion” as President Lincoln once described it. May you rest in peace. May peace also be with your parents and those who loved you.
— Posted by thankful on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 1:45 pm EST
Thank you Pfc. Eric W. Hario for your greatest sacrifice,
To your family, thank you for your selflessness of allowing
Pfc. Eric W. Hario to follow God’s calling (not understanding it
I am sure right now).
Only prayers, tears, and my deepest sincere sympathy
— Posted by Suzanne on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 1:11 pm EST
R.I.P Eric Hario….
I can’t read this article without crying. Every man & woman in uniform are in my prayers, they fight so I can live in this country of beauty, of peace and of love.
— Posted by Janie on Tue, Sep 8, 2009, 12:47 pm EST