KIA August 20, 2003
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dam Neck, Virginia
PO1 David Tapper was fatally wounded when his convoy made contact with enemy forces near Orgun in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. Reports say he was shot in the back during an ambush and later died after being transported to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, Tracey; their children, Raimen, Vanessa, Talia, and Jared; his parents, Ken and Judith; and sisters, Judi, Ruth, Brenda, and Diana.
David, a high school wrestler, joined the Navy shortly after graduation in 1989 with the goal to become part of the highly competitive Navy SEAL teams. He completed SEAL training in San Diego, Class 172, in 1991 and spent 12 of his 13 years in the military with the SEALs, a special forces arm of the Navy.
Often called upon to conduct the most harrowing missions, Tapper served in Afghanistan shortly after the September 11 attacks, took part in the April 2003 rescue of wounded POW Jessica Lynch, and helped recover the bodies of nine American Soldiers buried near the Iraqi hospital where she was held.
The youngest of six children, and the only boy, David Tapper grew up protecting his mother and sisters, and was especially close to his mother, Judi. “We grew up with him protecting his mother and sisters,” one sister said during an interview shortly after his death. “Then he grew up to protect his country.”
PO1 David Tapper was 32 years old from Atco, New Jersey
Original portrait was presented November 5, 2013 to his parents and four sisters during a special event hosted by Sanofi and at their U.S. Headquarters in Bridgewater, New Jersey.
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