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Cape Coral father remembers his service and his son's sacrifice 20-years after his death

Captain Daniel Eggers died in Afghanistan when his Humvee hit a string of IED's in 2004. His father built a local memorial in his honor.
Posted at 7:46 AM, May 23, 2024

CAPE CORAL — If you’ve never been to this Brotherhood of Heroes Resource Center and Museum in Cape Coral you really should stop by.

The walls and showcases are covered with history and stories of locals dedicated to service. One of the displays shares the time that Bill Eggers spent in Vietnam.

He met me there to share some of his memories.

“I was drafted in 1970, right after college,” Eggers recalled, “My duty was a US Army door gunner on a Huey helicopter.”

Bill Eggers during his time in Vietnam

“My job was to suppress enemy fire, when we weren't deploying the soldiers to complete the mission,” he shared.

Right down the hall from the display about Bill is another one of his accomplishments. A tribute to one of his seven children, Daniel, who followed in his dad’s footsteps and joined the military.

“He's one of those men that was born to be in the military. That's what he liked. That's what he loved, that's what he dreamed about,” Bill said proudly.

Daniel Eggers pursued that dream and made it a reality along side his wife, who he met in college, Rebecca. The pair worked, balancing their military careers with raising their two sons, John, known as JJ, and Billy.

Rebecca and Dan Eggers

Rebecca who stayed stateside worked in Human Resources for the Army. Daniel, eventually became special forces and deployed to Afghanistan twice. It was during Dan’s second tour that life changed for the family. Rebecca remembers the last time she talked to him.

“The last phone call I got from him was actually on our anniversary, May 20, 2004,” she remembered. Just over a week later, she received a knock at the door. “I’ve been in the Army long enough to know when two people in uniform show up at your door, you know what it is,” Rebecca said.

Daniel Eggers was killed when his Humvee hit a series of IEDs near the Pakistani border. Devastating news for Rebecca and her sons who were only three and five at the time.

“Billy was really too young to kind of understand any of it, but JJ did understand right away that his daddy was gone,” Rebecca shared.

Captain Daniel Eggers funeral at Arlington Cemetery, 2004

Despite this immeasurable loss, Daniel’s legacy endures through his sons. Both JJ and Billy graduated from The Citadel, following their father’s path of service. JJ is now a First Lieutenant in the Army, while Billy is pursuing a master’s degree at The Citadel.

“They both make their family very proud,” Bill said, beaming with pride for his grandsons. “Both very, very smart kids, just like their dad.”

For the Eggers family, service is more than a duty; it’s a calling that spans generations. “It's been a wild ride. That's my life,” Bill reflected, capturing the essence of their family’s journey. A journey we are so grateful for, this Military Appreciation Month.

On Friday, May 24, the life of Captain Daniel Eggers will be honored at Cape Coral High School, where the JROTC will hold a memorial ceremony. As a former student and JROTC member, his memory and legacy will be celebrated by the community he once called home.

May 29th marks 20-years since Daniel Eggers paid the ultimate price.

Captain Daniel Eggers in Afghanistan