Services planned for soldier killed Nov. 1

By John Hacker

Globe Staff Writer

AURORA, Mo. - Home is where the heart is and U.S. Army Lt. Benjamin J. Colgan's heart was with his wife and two children in Aurora, according to a Colgan family spokesman.

Colgan, 30, a soldier with the Second Battalion, Third Field Artillery Regiment, First Armored Division, based in Germany, was killed on Nov. 1 in Iraq.

See Soldier, Page 5A

Services for Colgan will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Aurora United Methodist Church, 1211 S. Carnation Drive.

Colgan was originally from Kent, Wash., but Mary McCleary Posner, a spokeswoman for the family, said he considered Aurora, the childhood home of his wife, Jill Kathleen Asay Colgan, his home.

"After you've been in the Army a while you pick a spot and this is the place he picked," Posner said. "Jill was born and raised here and this is where she came to stay when he was deployed to Iraq."

In addition to his wife, Lt. Colgan also left behind two daughters, Grace, 2, and Paige, 1. Jill Colgan is due to deliver their third daughter in about six weeks, Posner said.

The U.S. Department of Defense said in a news release that Colgan was responding to a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Baghdad when he was "struck with an improvised explosive device."

The release stated that Colgan died as a result of his injuries.

In a written statement, Jill Colgan said her husband would never have referred to himself as a hero.

"He loved his country and he wanted to make a difference in the world," Colgan said. "He gave his life to make a better life for the people of Iraq and for all Americans."

Posner said Benjamin Colgan joined the Army 12 years ago, intending to make it a career. He had served with the Army Special Operations before he was selected for Officers Candidate School.

Upon graduation from OCS in 2002, he and his family moved to Germany, but when he was deployed to Iraq, Jill Colgan and the two girls moved back to Aurora to be with her father, Dr. Ray Asay, a dentist in Aurora, and her stepmother, Nancy Asay, as she awaited the birth of their third child.

Posner said Jill Colgan grew up in Aurora and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor's degree in marketing. She then attended Saint Louis University, where she earned a master's degree in business administration.

She was working for Bear Sternes Investment Bank in New York City when she met Benjamin Colgan six years ago.

"He had come to New York with a friend and the friend came to Jill's apartment to see Jill's roommate," Posner said. "It was really love at first sight and they were married five years ago."

Jill Colgan said in the statement that her husband will be the role model by which she raises her children.

"He was a great husband, father, brother, son and friend," she said. "I will make it my goal to raise my children with the same sense of honor, courage and love of country in which Ben so strongly believed."

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