Born: October 8, 1989
Died: March 18, 2013 in Bethesda, Maryland
Pfc Derek McConnell of North Caldwell, NJ was a 2008 graduate of West Essex High School. He was a member of Notre Dame Parish in North Caldwell, where he was an altar server. In January 2009, he entered the United Stats Army. After finishing Airborne training, he was assigned to Catamount, B Co., 2-87 at Fort Drum. On July 23 2011, while on patrol in Afghanistan, McConnell attempted to rescue another soldier and in the process stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) sustaining massive injuries. He lost his left leg from the hip and the right leg just above the knee. He also received blast wounds, including a fractured right arm, a skull fracture and kidney damage. McConnell was sent to Kandahar for a couple of days, and then was moved to Baghram Air Base for transport to Lundstahl Hospital in Germany. Over the next several months, he battled serious infections and pneumonia for over three months, spent 53 days total in the ICU, and 7 months total as an inpatient at the Wounded Warrior Center, Bethesda/Walter Reed. It was there that Derek passed away in his sleep from complications associated from his wounds (double amputee) that he suffered.
To be updated…