CORVALLIS, OR, USA U.S. Army SPC, B COMPANY, 2ND BN, 162ND INFANTRY REGIMENT (1 CAV) CORVALLIS, OR 97330 BAGHDAD, IRAQ 06/13/2004
An avid outdoorsman, Eric McKinley hoped to open a juice bar in the college town of Corvallis, OR., to provide a drug- and alcohol-free environment for young people.
At Alpine Bakery in Corvallis, where McKinley worked for about two years, co-worker Ryan Barber remembered him as a great guy who “would give you the shirt off his back if he could.” Bakery owners Joey and Viki Taylor said McKinley was always willing to work late nights and fill in when other employees called in sick.
“He always did what was asked of him,” Joey Taylor said.
McKinley, 24, of Corvallis was killed June 13 by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad.
McKinley’s six-year tour of duty with the National Guard was to have ended April 1, but his stay was extended indefinitely because of the continuing violence in Iraq.
McKinley’s senior yearbook picture shows a grinning young man with spiked hair dyed red and green. In other 1998 yearbook pictures, he has purple hair, blue hair and a mohawk. High school English teacher Mary Morris described him as “friendly and laid back, not the greatest English student in the world, but always a pleasure to be around.”
Survivors include his father, Tom McKinley of Salem, Ore., and mother, Karen Hilsendager of Philomath, Ore.