Monday, May 04, 2009

PO2 Trahan Honored In Permanent Ink

A good story from "The Herald News"

Trahan honored in permanent ink
By Jeffrey D. Wagner
Special to The Herald News
Posted May 04, 2009 @ 10:19 PM

Town resident Jonathan Reid has a message in Arabic recently tattooed to his abdomen — “Freedom isn’t free.”

And above that phrase reads a name and insignia he will also never forget — Tyler Trahan and the wreath-decorated insignia of Trahan’s explosive ordnance disposal unit.

Reid and his friend Jonathan Evans got tattoos in honor of Trahan on Saturday, two days after Trahan, a Navy explosive ordnance disposalman 2nd class, was killed in action in Fallujah, Iraq. The tattoos were drawn on what would have been Trahan’s 23rd birthday.

Both Reid and Evans have known Trahan since middle school.

“He’s one of the nicest kids you could meet,” Evans said of Trahan. Evans graduated from the carpentry shop at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School with Trahan in 2004.

Reid said he moved from North Carolina to Freetown when he was 12. He said one of his first memories of those days is how a friendly young man calmed his nerves during the first few days of eight grade. Trahan stuck his hand out and introduced himself in a mature, adult-like fashion.

“Kids don’t do things like that,” he said. He said the two remained friends throughout high school and beyond. Reid said both he and Trahan bonded further through their desire to serve in the military. Reid said Trahan inspired him to join the Coast Guard shortly after Reid graduated from Apponequet Regional High School in 2004.

Reid also said both he and Trahan exchanged insignia pins connected to their respective work in the military before Trahan died.

“That’s the most cherished object I have,” he said.

Evans said both he and Trahan shared a friendly rivalry in the carpentry program at Old Colony. However, Evans conceded that Trahan’s slightly competitive nature came with a softer side. He and Trahan’s cousin and best friend Jeff Deterra said that Trahan was always “the life of the party” who made sure that “everyone was having a good time at the party.”

Evans, who played football with Trahan, chuckled over the time Trahan once chided a reporter for calling him “a star quarterback.” Despite Trahan’s criticism of the distinction, Evans would argue that Trahan truly was a star quarterback of their varsity squad, even though Trahan injured his collarbone early that senior year.

Evans said this was part of Trahan’s humble makeup.

“He never wanted to stand out,” Reid said. “He’s a natural leader because he doesn’t live for the stardom.”

But although Trahan had that humble side, he also had a fun side, both friends agreed with a grin.

Evans and Reid said on Jan. 7, 2006, they initiated a tradition in which they do a “polar bear plunge” off the Trahans’ boat ramp and into Long Pond.

Both boys said they continued the tradition this year, even though Trahan was overseas. They said they hope to continue it in honor of the fallen soldier.

“He’s my hero,” Reid said.

Evans and Reid were among a full house of family, friends and military personnel at the Trahan home on Monday to support the family.

Robert J. Fluegel, of the Naval Special Warfare Group Two, shared information on Trahan’s EOD unit. The information further highlighted Trahan’s bravery as the “volunteer” work was described as one of the most hazardous missions.

Fluegel said funeral arrangements have not yet been ironed out. He said the family met with a funeral parlor and a priest on Monday. He said the Trahans went to Dover, Del., on Friday and a ceremony was conducted in which the body was transferred from an airplane and on to United States soil. He said the body is still in Delaware.

On Sunday, Freetown Selectmen Chairwoman Jean C. Fox sent out an e-mail asking all flags in town be flown half-staff until Memorial Day.

“(Selectman) Larry (Ashley) has suggested that black bunting be draped from town signs and the Memorial Park as well. We would appreciate it if anyone could provide information and assistance in obtaining and draping the bunting,” she wrote in a mass e-mail. “This is a difficult, mournful time for the Trahan family, for Freetown, and this nation. I am sure that we will do all we can to provide solace to the family and keep Tyler’s memory, spirit, and heroism forever in our minds.”

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