Died July 19, 2006
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
On July 18, 2006, SSG Eric Caban was injured during a fire-fight when enemy forces engaged his combat reconnaissance patrol unit in Southern Afghanistan. Eric died of his injuries the following day.
With a desire to serve his country, Eric joined the Army for the first time in 1997 in which he served as a team leader and sniper in the 75th Ranger Regiment. As a soldier, Eric constantly put others first, and strived to make an impact in every deployment and mission. In 2001 during his first deployment to Afghanistan, Eric participated as an Airborne Ranger to complete a combat jump that helped secure the strategically important Kandahar Airfield. After serving his country for 5 years, he took a break from the Army to pursue school in 2002.
While in school, Eric, also known as “Bam-Bam” because of his short stature, strength and enthusiastic personality, joined a fraternity where he was able to remain a part of a brotherhood. After only two years in school, Eric once again felt the call to serve his country and help his brothers-in-arms. “He believed in a higher calling than himself. It ate at him that his friends were getting shot over there,” Jeff Duer, a fraternity brother, said.
Eric re-enlisted in 2004, initially as a sniper instructor before enrolling in the Special Forces Qualifications Course; he graduated from the course in 2006 to become a Sergeant in the Special Forces and returned to Afghanistan to fulfil his purpose. “That is where his passion was, and where he thrived. He believed in the cause,” his brother, Efren Caban, said.
His family describes Eric as persistent in all his endeavors, and said that he was never one to quit. It was this “give-it-all” attitude that led Eric to become such a hard-working Green Beret. During his service he received numerous military awards and decorations including the Army Commendation Medal and three Army Achievement Medals. He was also posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal. SSG Eric Caban is survived by his father Efren, mother Iris, and his brothers Efren Caban, Jr. and Edwin Caban.
SSC Eric Caban was 28 years old from Fort Worth, Texas.
Original portrait was presented July 22nd, 2017 to his parents and brother during a special event presented by SWYPIT and the Texas AirHogs held in Grand Prairie, Texas.
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