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Soldier with New England ties killed in combat in Afghanistan

By Stewart Bishop
Globe Correspondent / June 30, 2010

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A soldier with ties to New England was killed by hostile forces while serving in Afghanistan, officials said.

Staff Sergeant Eric Shaw, 31, formally of Exeter, Maine, was serving with the 327th Infantry, First Brigade Combat Team from Fort Campbell, Ky., when he was killed by enemy gunfire, Governor John E. Baldacci of Maine said in a statement.

Baldacci said Shaw was on his third tour of combat duty when he was killed Sunday.

“All soldiers in combat pay a deep price for their service. For some, they make the ultimate sacrifice,’’ Baldacci said. “Staff Sergeant Shaw was a dedicated soldier with a young family. We will keep his wife and his children in our prayers. Our entire state mourns with them.’’

Shaw leaves his wife and three young children — ages 5, 2, and 6 weeks — in Tennessee. Baldacci said Shaw’s wife was visiting her parents in Maine when she learned of her husband’s death.

Shaw was born in Taunton, but he was raised by his father and paternal grandfather, both of whom are deceased, in Exeter. Shaw’s mother lives in Rhode Island, the governor said.

Shaw’s cousin, Dan Plunkett of Milford, N.H., said he would be remembered as an outstanding father and husband.

“He was an all-around great guy,’’ Plunkett said. “He was a hero. That was Eric. He’s going to be greatly missed.’’

Baldacci said he has been trying to reach Shaw’s family. “We will provide whatever help and support we can during this terrible time,’’ he said.

Shaw is the second soldier with ties to Maine killed in Afghanistan in the past month. On June 21, Sergeant Brandon Silk, 25, a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief from Orono, died from injuries suffered during a hard landing while on duty with the 101st Airborne Division. Silk was also stationed at Fort Campbell, officials said.

Baldacci said he will order flags across the state to be flown at half-staff on the days of the soldiers’ funerals.

Stewart Bishop can be reached at sbishop@globe.com.

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