Died August 12, 2004
Operation Enduring Freedom
SGT Daniel Lee Galvan died August 12, 2004, when the Black Hawk helicopter in which he was riding was improperly flown to demonstrate it’s speed causing it to crash in Salerno, Afghanistan. 14 other Soldiers and Marines were also injured in the crash and were taken to Camp Salerno, an American base near Khost city. The helicopter’s pilot later plead guilty to negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, destruction of property, and failure to obey orders.
Daniel, a helicopter mechanic, entered the Army in 1996. His father and two brothers also served in the Army and they recalled that Daniel used to draw pictures of choppers as a child and later progressed to making models of helicopters. “I can say from the depth of my soul that Daniel was able to fulfill his dream and fly… And now he flies for my family and myself as our guardian angel,” Daniel’s wife, Sonya, said. When he wasn’t flying, Daniel loved to ride his motorcycle around Oahu. “He loved life, loved his family, loved to make people laugh.” Sonya remembers her husband as a “true American Soldier” who dreamed of flying for the Army. “My husband didn’t join the military for a paycheck. He joined because he believed in the cause,” she declared, “He believed in the military and he was proud to wear the uniform and honored to be an American Soldier.” Friends said that Daniel was a dedicated Soldier whose hard work ethic was admired by everyone. “I’m hard pressed to find a more diligent, honest and fun-loving member of this company,” exclaimed CPT Matt Champion, “He’s someone I relied on every day. I consider myself fortunate to have had him in my command and count him among my friends.”
On a memorial page dedicated to SGT Galvan, a friend wrote, “Aloha, my friend… Your memory has been weighing on our hearts and minds lately as I am once again in Afghanistan. I remember our last beer the night before we deployed and our ‘catching up’ between missions. I still smile as we joked around and smoked cigars. Please know that my family and I have not forgotten—we will never forget! I do what I do in honor of you.”
SGT Galvan is survived by his parents, Ernest and Nelda; wife, Sonya; daughter, Audrey; and son, Joseph.
SGT Daniel Galvan was 30 years old from Moore, Oklahoma
Original portrait was presented May 15, 2010 to his parents during an Armed Forces Day event hosted by America Supports You-Texas in Amarillo, Texas.