Fallen: August 27, 2003
Sergeant Gregory A. Belanger of Narragansett, R.I. was assigned to Headquarters Service Company, 325th Military Intelligence Battalion, Army Reserve, based at Ayer, MA. He became a RI hero on August 27, 2003 when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in Hallia, Iraq.
An Army soldier who grew up in Deerfield with a love of cooking, Sgt. Gregory Belanger of Narragansett, R.I., graduated from Johnson and Wales University in 2001 with a degree in culinary arts before entering the Army as a cook. He was with the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion, attached to the 94th Regional Readiness Command, when the convoy was attacked Aug. 27, 2003. According to the Pentagon, Belanger was the first soldier from Rhode Island to die in Iraq since the start of U.S.-led military operations there.
His father told The Recorder of Greenfield that his son enlisted in the Army Reserve and was called up to active duty shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Belanger’s mother recalls him as “a whiz,” who “was creative and could take whatever was in the refrigerator and pull out this gourmet dish from his soul and his head.”
On Wapping Road in Deerfield, Massachusetts there is a sign with Greg Belanger’s name on it, in honor of the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country. His mother says this community has not forgotten her son, “people have not forgotten the war, they haven’t forgotten how it can change a family’s life so dramatically, so for being in Deerfield and the people in my town I am so grateful for them.”