Another Tragedy of the War
Two more Jersey soldiers killed in Iraq
by John P. Martin and Claire Heininger
Wednesday June 20, 2007, 9:19 PM
Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger
An unidentified woman is surrounded by reporters as she stops by the home the Hamilton of Mittie White Snell. Sgt. Eric Snell, her son, was killed in Iraq on Monday. The woman came by to offer condolences but no one was home.
Eric Snell had the trifecta: talent, looks and brains. He was a star outfielder at Hamilton High School West, good enough to be drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1989. Snell was eager to jump to the pros, but his mother pushed him to consider college first. So off he went to Trenton State.
When his baseball career fizzled, Snell turned to modeling. And then to the Army. He signed up for two tours in Iraq. He was promoted to seargant. On Monday, Smith died after a firefight with insurgents in Baghdad, the Pentagon announced today. He was 35, the father of two sons.
"He was a good-looking guy, a great athlete, a great person," said Michael Toleno, a high school baseball teammate. "He died too young."
Eric Snell played baseball for Trenton State College in the early 1990s.
A second soldier with New Jersey ties, Farid Elazzouzi of Paterson, was also killed in Iraq in the last week, the Defense Department said today. Elazzouzi died from wounds he suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated June 14 near his vehicle in Kirkuk, officials said.
Together, Snell and Elazzouzi brought to at least 76 the number of service members with Jersey ties to die in Iraq.
"He was one of the nicest young men you could meet, a son every mother would want," said Gloria Stephens, a neighbor to Snell's mother, Mittie.
Read the full story in Thursday's Star-Ledger.