Captain David S. Connolly '94
ROTC Alumnus Connolly Killed in Afghanistan
By Reid Oslin
The United States Army has confirmed that Captain David S. Connolly '94, one of six Boston College graduates in his family, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on April 6.
Capt. Connolly is the first graduate of the University's ROTC program to lose his life in hostile action since the Vietnam War, according to University officials.
Capt. Connolly, 37, who last year was appointed as an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, had been a member of the Army Reserve until his Brockton-based 1173rd Transportation Company was called to active duty last fall.
He was serving as a transportation officer in Afghanistan when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding went down 80 miles southwest of Kabul, the Afghan capital, as it returned from delivering personnel, mail and supplies to the US Army forward base in Baghran. All 18 persons on board the aircraft were killed in the crash.
A Newton native, Capt. Connolly graduated from the Woods College of Advancing Studies and served on active duty with the Army's elite Ranger special operations units. After returning to civilian life, he graduated from Suffolk Law School in 2003 while continuing to serve as an Army Reservist.
Capt. Connolly had strong ties to Boston College. His mother, Marguerite Connolly, who died in 2003, earned her degree while employed in the Athletic and Geology and Geophysics departments. His sister Marguerite Connolly, holds bachelor's (1988), master's (1991) and doctoral (2001) degrees from the University and is currently a research associate for Boston College's Teachers for a New Era program.
The Connolly family's BC connections also include Capt. Connolly's brothers, Joseph '85, Paul '89 and Gregory '03, are also University alumni. Joseph, a graduate of the University's ROTC program, administered the commissioning oath to David as his younger brother was made an Army lieutenant in a 1994 commencement weekend ceremony.
"I can still picture David," said Associate Dean for Student Development D. Michael Ryan '67, a former Army captain who serves as the University's liaison to military officer training programs. "He was a solid leader, partly because he had prior military service before coming to BC. All of the other students respected him. He was a quiet person, but a good leader."
The last graduate of Boston College's ROTC program to die in combat was Army 1st Lt. Louis A Favuzza '68, who was killed in Vietnam on April 20, 1970, according to Ryan.
Capt. Connolly won the Boston College ROTC program's Veterans of Foreign Wars' Award in 1993 and the Reserve Officers' Association Award in 1994. Each is presented for military proficiency and outstanding leadership, Ryan said.
"Dave was so proud to have been from Boston College," said his sister, Marguerite Connolly. "He was a season ticket holder in both football and basketball and hardly ever missed a game. He just loved to wear his BC shirts and jacket."
Capt. Connolly enjoyed a tailgate party at an Alumni Stadium game just prior to his departure to military duty, said Steven Woodside '95, who was a fellow ROTC cadet. "He was a very likeable guy. We got together with Dave and his wife Debra and reminisced about our ROTC days at BC," Woodside said.
"His connection to BC was so strong," Marguerite Connolly said. "I think there had to be 30 friends and classmates from BC who have been with us all the time since we heard about the crash. It has been a tremendous help to our family."
In addition to four brothers and two sisters, Capt. Connolly is survived by his wife, Debra Connolly of Boston.
A funeral Mass with full military honors will be said for Capt. Connolly Saturday, April 16 at 9 a.m. at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill. Capt. A wake will be held from 3-8 p.m. Friday, April 15 at Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Avenue in Needham. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the ROTC Memorial Fund, in care of the Boston College Development Office, More Hall.