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Falmouth Soldier Remembered Amid Mysterious Death02:19
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Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher's mother, Cheryl Ruggiero, left, stands next to his wife, Katie, at his funeral, Thursday. (Fred Thys/WBUR)
Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher's mother, Cheryl Ruggiero, left, stands next to his wife, Katie, at his funeral, Thursday. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

People came from all over the United States for the funeral in Falmouth of Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher, killed under mysterious circumstances in Iraq.

The wives of men serving with Gallagher arrived dressed in gray dresses with big yellow sashes on Thursday. Hundreds of people packed the shingled Saint Elizabeth Seton Roman Catholic Church in North Falmouth.

Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher (Courtesy)
Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher (Courtesy)

Gallagher's mother, Cheryl Ruggiero, recalled his birthday, July 5, 1988. Speaking in a very soft voice, she spoke of how he was born premature, and how she would not bring him home until nine days later. She spoke of how he grew to be a "fine, sweet, sensitive, loving" man of 22.

Gallagher got married in December 2009. Soon after, he and his wife, Katie, moved to Ford Hood, Texas.

Gallagher's sister-in-law, Abbey Hall, said he was someone whose life could at one point have gone in a bad direction, but who turned everything around.

One of his superior officers told the Quincy Patriot Ledger that Gallagher was shot on base in Iraq. The Defense Department says he died of non-combat-related injuries.

The lack of information about Gallagher's death left family and friends at the funeral frustrated.

This program aired on July 8, 2011.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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