HOPE MILLS, NC, U.S.A.
CW2, ASSISTANT DETACHMENT COMMANDER TO ODA 3331, 3RD SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (AIRBORNE), 3RD BN, FORT BRAGG, NC
03/06/2012, HOPE MILLS, NC
Chief Warrant Officer Two Edward Duane Cantrell was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee on December 16, 1975. He joined the U.S. Army on July 21, 1994. Duane was the epitome of a quiet professional. He was the most loving husband and devoted father. He loved to fish, but most of all spend time with his family. Duane and his wife Louise and their two daughters Isabella and Natalia lived in Hope Mills, NC.
In February 2004, CW2 Cantrell graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne), 3d Battalion, Operational Detachment (ODA) 381, serving as a Communications and Intelligence Sergeant on five combat deployments throughout Central Command, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
In January 2009, CW2 Cantrell attended the Warrant Officer Candidate Course, followed by the Special Forces Warrant Officer Basic Course, and was assigned as the Assistant Detachment Commander to ODA 3331.
Special Forces Green Beret Edward Duane Cantrell, a decorated U.S. Soldier, perished Tuesday morning along with his two young daughters as he attempted to rescue the girls from their burning century-old North Carolina home. All three are laid to rest in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery.
At the time of his death, CW2 Cantrell was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. He had one combat deployment to Iraq and five to Afghanistan. He returned home from his most recent combat tour in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in August 2011. He earned four Bronze Stars and one Purple Heart, awarded for wounds suffered in a war zone.
Isabella the older of the Cantrell’s daughters was a kindergartner at Ed Baldwin Elementary School. “Very loving,” Ed Baldwin Elementary principal Todd Yardis said. “She was very loved. You could see that in her parents, that she was used to people caring about her.”
A Reflection by Louise Cantrell:
“I had to literally figure out how to start my life again. I could not crawl into a hole and give up. I created the Dancing Angels Foundation for two reasons. As a parent who has lost her children, my biggest fear is that they will be forgotten. So this foundation will honor and perpetuate their memory. They loved to dance. Anywhere they heard music they were dancing. Secondly, I want to help a child who shares the same love and passion for dance as my girls did to continue to dance. It is the best way I know how to honor my dancing angels and help others. It is a bittersweet endeavor, but one that I need to do for myself, my daughters, and any child that has a love of dance.”