CPT Tranchemontagne, 32, of Portland, ME, died of a non-combat cause at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Daniel was assigned as a staff officer with the 368th Engineers in Kuwait until he was diagnosed with an illness and evacuated to Walter Reed.
To honor CPT Daniel J. Tranchemontagne, his younger brother, James Tranchemontagne retrieved this stone from their family camp in Sand Pond in Sanford, Maine.
Watch this video to learn why this stone is significant and what it says about CPT Daniel J. Tranchemontagne.
Captain Daniel J. Tranchemontagne
“Always the Teacher”
Written by George Tranchmontagne—Gold Star Father
Our son, Daniel John, was born in Pascagoula, MS on December 26, 1971 the fourth of six sons. He was raised in Sanford, Maine and graduate from the Sanford High School in 1989. As a student in grade school, Daniel was always willing to help other students regardless of their abilities. In high school Daniel worked in children’s summer program. He was constantly amazed at the progress the children made during the summer. We knew our son was compassionate and would do well in the future.
Daniel was active in scouting, wrestling, soccer, track and Key Club. He liked the friendship, comradely, and the service that some of these organization accomplished. He always volunteered for projects. He coached the boy’s youth soccer team in Sanford. Giving time was a joy for Daniel. His name is inscribed in a memorial monument at the Soccer Field in Sanford.
Daniel began his secondary education at the University Southern Maine in Gorham where he was in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and a prominent member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Prior to his junior year, he transferred to Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont where he was a member of the Artillery Battery. Daniel always wanted to be in the military. He was always impressed with his older brother Marc who graduated from Norwich as a Naval Officer.
In 1993, Daniel graduated with a Bachelors Degree in mathematics and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. He served as a Platoon Leader, and later commanded Company A, 368 Engineering Battalion— Combat Heavy.
Daniel’s aspirations turned to teaching in 1996. He returned to USM to earn a certification in teaching and a Masters Degree in education. Daniel was disappointed in not being chosen to be an active duty officer but as a reserve officer. When he came back from his days and months of training he saw an advertisement for the Extended Teacher Education Program at USM. The decision to participate in the training came from his days as a substitute teacher while in he attended college. He really enjoyed working with kids and had found his calling. For six years Daniel was an admired mathematics teacher at Scarborough High School.
I was at Lowes in Biddeford when the cashier saw my credit card. She asked if I knew Daniel and I told her he was my son. She told me that if it wasn’t for Daniel, her son would have never graduated from high school. She said, “Daniel would call me home in the evening to remind me to remind my son that he had homework.” She told me she had Daniel’s picture in her bible. She was proud that her son was married and had a good job. We shed a lot of tears that day, both of us grateful for our sons’ accomplishments.
Daniel was an assistant wrestling coach at USM and introduced the wrestling program to Scarborough High School. A scholarship has been endowed for college bound seniors in his memory. Daniel would be proud knowing his wrestling contributions and determination for a higher education would continue to live in future students.
During his life, Daniel traveled throughout the United States, Mexico, Kenya, Korea, Belize and much of Europe. He was a recreational scuba diver, distance runner and loved dancing. He volunteered to chaperone every Scarborough High School prom. Daniel believed in living life not watching from the sidelines.
In November of 2002, Daniel was called to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in Kuwait as a Staff Officer with the 368th Engineer Battalion until he was diagnosed with cancer. When a grown child has volunteered to protect his country and its people, you imagine the many ways that death can happen. You pray for their protection from a roadside bomb or sniper fire, and you forget about the commonality of disease. In January 2004, Daniel was evacuated to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC. Daniel had served in Kuwait for ten months. He always gave up his chance to come home to the younger, married enlisted so they could be with their families.
Daniel died at Walter Reed Hospital on May 30th, 2004. At Daniel’s funeral, the church was overflowing with students, fellow soldiers and hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues. Daniel was respected and admired by his peers, students and soldiers alike. More than once at the wake, men and woman soldiers said the Daniel had changed their outlook, not only about the military but also about life in general, and they said they would never forget him. The mess hall was named after Daniel.
Daniel always spoke with pride about his association with Norwich University and stressed the motto to his soldiers and students, “Essayons—I will try”. There is no greater legacy than to instill a determination in those we lead.
There is not a day that goes by that our son Daniel is not in our prayers and thoughts.