APPLETON, WI, US
SSG, 395TH ORDNANCE CO, 687TH CSSB, 646TH RSG, 310TH EXP SUST CMD, APPLETON, WI
09/17/2011, BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN
Staff Sergeant Eppinger enlisted in the Army in 2005 shortly after graduating from Appleton North High School. It was a choice that challenged his parents’ military loyalty.
“He said you all should be proud of him and I said no we’re not,” said Garrick Eppinger Sr. laughing. “He said why not and we said because we’re Navy, and he’s joining the Army because he doesn’t like water.”
When Staff Sergeant Eppinger’s father was on active duty with the Navy, Garrick questioned his dad about what might happen if he didn’t return from overseas.
“I said well then you’ll know where I am,” said Mr. Eppinger , “I have a forwarded address in heaven and I expect to see you there. Then, every time he’d see me he’d be like, ‘ok I know where you are going if you don’t come back.’ So I know where he has gone now that he’s not coming back.”
The Eppingers explained that they plan to celebrate their son’s triumphs, rather than sorrow in his death. Garrick attended Emmanuel Baptist Church in Appleton and his faith was a very important part of his life. Between deployments he attended the University of Wisconsin at Fox Valley, and worked at the Express Convenience Centers. Garrick had an immense love for life, his family, and his country.
“The way that he lived and what led him up to the decisions that he did, knowing that even though he was in harm’s way, he not only chose to go there, but he chose to go there three times, you couldn’t be prouder than that,” said Mr. Eppinger.