June 27, 2011
FALMOUTH, Mass. — A U.S. Army soldier from Falmouth was killed in Iraq on Sunday, according to the U.S. military and his family.
22-year-old Sgt. Matthew Gallagher was killed by gunfire in Northern Iraq while performing a sweep of a housing unit.
Gallagher was a gunner and a Calvary Scout in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. His mother, Cheryl Ruggiero of North Falmouth, was told of his death Sunday night by two Army sergeants who knocked on her door.
"They asked me to sit down and I did,” she said. “And they said we regret to inform you that your son Matthew Gallagher was killed June 26, 2011, in Iraq. And i started to cry, and said, 'My baby.' And my daughter came down from upstairs and he was dead."
The soldiers told Ruggiero that Gallagher was clearing a housing unit with a second soldier when shots were fired. Gallagher's partner called for a medic, but Gallagher died before making it to the hospital.
"He was a good soldier, he was a good husband,” Ruggiero said. “Oh, he was a good son. He was a good son. And he tried to make me proud."
With her son's wedding picture on a nearby shelf, Ruggiero asked that people continue to remember the soldiers overseas, and send them care packages and letters.
"Put stickers on your car. Hang a flag in your yard, until they all come home. Because mine's not coming home. Not the way I want him," Ruggiero said.
Ruggiero's other son, 21-year-old Daniel, was set to meet with an Army recruiter Monday to discuss his own enlistment, but he has cancelled that meeting. Ruggiero said Daniel will travel with her and Matthew Gallagher's wife Katie to Dover Air Force Base to accompany Gallagher's body back to Cape Cod.