Eric A Lill

Eric A Lill

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U.S. Army

Sergeant Eric Lill of Chicago, Illinois died July 6, 2007 in Rustamiyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Baghdad.  An interpreter was also killed and three other soldiers were wounded in the attack.   Eric was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.  He was twenty-eight years old.  His unit was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After September 11, 2001, Eric tried to join the military, but it was not as simple as Eric had expected. The Army initially rejected the former hockey player because he was overweight.  Rather than give up, Eric started working out on his own, and by February 2002 he had dropped from 245 pounds down to 198 pounds, 40 pounds in 4 months,  on his 6-foot frame.  “He had a hard time making the weight limit,” says his father, “but he worked out so he could make the qualifications.”  He was determined not to let the rejection get the better of him. He enlisted in 2002.  Once he was on active duty he would tell family not to worry about him and that he’d be coming home.   He was definitely doing what he wanted to do. Eric’s family figured that Eric told them duty was boring so that they would not worry so much about him. 

Eric grew up in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood and attended St. Laurence High School in Burbank. Eric had a police career in mind when he was younger, but he also talked about joining the FBI.   He played hockey at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., where he studied briefly before enlisting, but he dropped out of college to return home to marry his sweetheart.  He had planned to return to Bridgeport after his service.

Eric’s portrait is also located on Poster 3


2 Responses to “Eric A Lill”
  1. Jim Griese says:

    Today is the 10th anniversary of SGT Eric Lill’s death. Although I didn’t know Eric personally, I’m almost certain our paths crossed. I was serving in Baghdad on that sad day, 6 July 2007, and was soon aware that his team from 1-9 IA Bde Military Training Team (MiTT) was hit with an IED attack. It hurt, and continues to hurt, in a way that only a fellow Soldier could understand. For anyone reading this, I just wanted to say that his service made a difference and that he is not forgotten. Rest In Pease, Eric. COL(ret) Jim Griese

  2. Raymond C Rogers says:

    My name is Raymond Rogers. I was Eric’s team leader during his first tour with the B Battery 1/6 FA in 04-05. We were given Humvees and the provincial capital of Baqubah, Diayala. It was a city of 300,000 and we held the fort down with bare minimum manpower.

    Heroism entails knowing the risks intimately, yet still moving foward. Eric put in very gruelling days, and we rode in the same vehicle. Our vehicle was hit by IEDS eight times, and Lill witnessed two guys take some serious injuries, but he continued on. Our rather small compound smack dab in downtown was hit by mortars a dozen or so times, so every soldier there knew what we faced. We were ambushed with small arms a few times, and the platoon on one occasion was misidentified as non-friendly by the Engineers at the local FOB and the Iraqi National Guard.

    We were a tight knit group.I remember him fondly talking about his kids and how he jokingly wanted to be an Alderman in Chicago. I called him Frank, as he had the mannerism of the dad on the show “Everyone Loves Raymond”. I’m often reminded of him, as we were all given plaques by SSG Perkins that have a picture of us sitting on the trucks at the CMOC.

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