Todd W. Weaver
First Lieutenant, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 822-10
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
First Lieutenant Todd W. Weaver, 26, of Hampton, Virginia, died September 9, 2010, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
For more information media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 270- 798-3025.
By Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Todd W. Weaver joined the National Guard after September 11, served in Iraq and then graduated from the College of William and Mary as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was the best, people said, and they went further: the best of the best.
Weaver, 26, a First Lieutenant in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Relatives said he was born in Northern Virginia and went to school in the Hampton Roads area. The recipient of an ROTC commission, he graduated from William and Mary as a government major.
"A very, very special man," his mother, Jeanne Nell Harris Weaver, said Saturday.
"One of the best people I've ever served with," Army Captain Jeff Harasimowitz said in an interview.
"The best," said his wife, Emma.
"Clearly, he was the best of the best," an ROTC official at William and Mary said in a campus news publication.
Weaver and his wife attended Bruton High School in York County, Virginia, together. But, she said their paths never crossed at Bruton where Weaver, a star in baseball and football, was always "the most popular guy."
Then came the party before his deployment to Iraq. She was leaving. He ran outside, in socks, in the rain, and asked for a kiss.
When he returned on furlough, she said, they were together every day. And when the deployment was over, they remained together, got married and became the parents of a daughter named Kiley.
Weaver was born into a Foreign Service family and lived much of his early life overseas, but was a senior at Bruton on September 11, 2001.
"I remember the look on his face," said his mother. "It changed him." He told his parents that day that as soon as he could serve his country, he would do it.
He began college at James Madison University, joined the Guard and, after his return from Iraq, transferred to William and Mary, his mother said.
The campus news department wrote of a tour in Iraq that began in February 2004.
Among his favorite memories, it said, were of children running up to convoys and giving the thumbs-up sign.
"I have a picture of this little Iraqi kid wearing my uniform top," Weaver was quoted. "He is saluting. That just shows that there was a connection."
He "truly believed in what he was doing," said Harasimowitz, who was with Weaver in Iraq.
Once home, his motivation was also strong. In a letter recommending him for Phi Beta Kappa, one of his teachers, Rani D. Mullen, described Weaver as "determined to excel at his studies and to further serve his country as best he could."
She recommended him "in the highest possible terms," citing a "stellar academic record" and intellectual abilities that went "far beyond" the ability to score well on exams and papers. He had a "genuinely brilliant and inquisitive mind," she wrote.
He "clearly had a very bright future ahead
of him," said professor John J. McGlennon, chairman of the Government Department
at William and Mary. "We're very devastated."
Kiley Weaver played with her shoes, pulling them off and throwing them into the grass of Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday afternoon.
At 13 months old, Kiley couldn't know she was attending a funeral or was being held between her mother, Emma, and the flag that had draped her father's silver casket.
First Lieutenant Todd Weaver spent about nine months with his daughter before being deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year. Before leaving for his second tour overseas, Weaver made it clear to his family that should he be killed, he wanted to be buried at Arlington.
Thursday, that wish was sadly fulfilled. Weaver's was the 32nd funeral of the day at the cemetery, though he was the only active duty casualty from the war in Afghanistan.
Weaver's mother, father, wife Emma, siblings and more than 250 people followed the caisson bearing his casket to the gravesite in a light rain that had been falling all day. Once the Old Guard transferred Weaver's casket to the ground and Weaver's family was seated, the first measures of "Amazing Grace" wafted over Section 60.
The rain stopped. The sun bathed the gathered crowd as Chaplain Jason Nobles took his place next to a team of eight holding the American Flag aloft over Weaver's casket. That flag would later be folded to the strains of "America the Beautiful" and handed to Weaver's wife, holding Kiley in her lap.
Weaver packed a lot into 26 years. His father, Donn, readily rattles off his youngest child's accomplishments, represented by gold star lapel pins he and his wife Jeanne wear. Both also wear black bracelets bearing his name.
"He fought one war as an enlisted man, and four months of another as an officer," Donn Weaver said in a recent interview, shaking his head in near-disbelief of his son's achievements. "He lived in five countries. He traveled to 36 countries. He could speak French and Russian at a passable level."
"He found true love," Jeanne Weaver said. "It is amazing that anyone could live a full life in 26 years. But that's what Todd did."
Careful not to be boastful, Weaver never advertised the excellent grades that earned his a diploma with honors from the College of William and Mary, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 2008.
As commander of the William and Mary ROTC Corps of Cadets, Weaver was ranked 36 of 4,000 cadets nationwide.
By then, Weaver already was a veteran of the war in Iraq, where he served a tour in 2004.
In 2006, he rejoined the Army as an officer, resisting an urge to return as an enlisted man to Iraq, where he had lost several friends.
"We discussed it at length and it became clear to him that he could have a greater impact as an officer," Donn Weaver said. "Todd had the courage that he had to be there to lead."
Weaver became an infantry officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). It was in that capacity that the young lieutenant found himself leading a patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan the night of September 9, 2010.
Weaver was the sole casualty when an improvised explosive device detonated. His parents are convinced, and have been told by Todd's commanders and fellow soldiers, that "had Todd not been killed that night, many others would have been." They want others to continue to realize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being fought by soldiers like their son, more than 600 of whom are buried with him at Arlington.
"The war has gone on for nine years and the human toll has long since left people's minds," Donn Weaver said.
Weaver joins 168 other service men and women killed in the Afghanistan war buried at the cemetery, most of who are with him in Section 60. To date, 1,299 U.S. service members have died in the war in Afghanistan.
Thursday's ceremony drew Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who paid respects to Weaver's family.
Weaver received full military honors, including a three-volley salute. A lone bugler, standing apart among rows of white marble headstones, blew Taps before the presentation of flags to Weaver's wife, mother and father.
The silence that followed was broken by a volley
fired over an unseen grave elsewhere in the cemetery, where the 33rd person
of the day was being laid to rest.
First Lieutenant Todd William Weaver awards and decorations: Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobilization Device; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Air Assault Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; Parachutists Badge and the Ranger Tab.
WEAVER, TODD W
Posted: 15 October 2010 Updated: 22 March 2011 31 January 2012
Photo By Eileen Horan, December 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, December 2010