Army Col. John M. McHugh
Died May 18, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
46, of Newark, New Jersey; assigned to the U.S. Army Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; died May 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a suicide car bombing. Also killed were Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman and Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson.
(The following was taken from www.nydailynews.com of May 20, 2010) An Army colonel from New Jersey who dedicated his life to the military was among the five U.S. soldiers killed in Tuesday's suicide attack in Kabul, officials said Thursday.
Col. John McHugh, a married father of five, died after a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into his NATO convoy, killing a total of 18 people.
The death of McHugh, one of the highest-ranking officers to die in Afghanistan since the war began, sent shockwaves through his hometown of West Caldwell.
"John never had an off day," said his lifelong friend, Kevin Morris, 46. "He was always upbeat, always positive. That's what I'm going to miss."
McHugh played on the varsity baseball and soccer teams at James Caldwell High School.
After graduating in 1982, he immediately enlisted at West Point - a move that surprised few of his classmates.
"He excelled in everything he did since kindergarten," said Morris. "He was always a good student. He was always a good atlete. John was always loyal. John was always hardworking - kind of the prototype of what you'd expect in a West Point cadet."
McHugh went on to flight school and later served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
The affable helicopter pilot earned a masters degree in administration from American Public University in 2006.
McHugh was then selected to attend the Army's most prestigious academy, the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, where he received a masters in strategic studies in 2009.
He was serving as the chief of operations with the Battle Command Training Program when he was killed.
"There wasn't a day that I saw him that he didn't have a smile for someone or didn't have a good word to say," said Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman for the program, based out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas."
"He always had time to see how everyone was doing, to make sure they had everything they needed."
McHugh leaves behind two sons - the younger is only 5 years old - and three daughters. He recently became a grandfather.
His oldest child, Michael, was serving in Iraq when his father was killed. He met his dad's body in Kuwait and escorted it home, friends said.