Army Master Sgt. Robert M. Horrigan

40, of Austin, Texas; assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed June 17 while conducting combat operations in Qaim, Iraq. Robert was born in Limestone, Maine.

To honor MSG Robert M. Horrigan, his mother, Mary Alice Horrigan retrieved this stone from a stone wall near a 90 year-old apple tree in an apple orchard in Belfast, Maine. The apple tree was planted by Mary Alice’s grandparents in 1921, and Mary Alice climbed this same tree as a girl and recently made the best apple pie from its fruit.   IMG_0662

Robert’s mother. Ms. Mary Horrigan writes about her son, his character and service.  She describes the stone she selected and how she learned about The Summit Project –

“I saw the stones in Portland at the Armory at the Maine Marathon, and hoped I was not too late. I picked a stone from the orchard that my grandpa planted, and in which  my kids used to climb the apple trees,  when we lived on a farm in Belfast.  Bob was born in the County when we were stationed at Loring. Jan. 13, 1965.  Second of a set of twins.  He entered the army after hi school, was a Ranger, then Special Forces.  Eventually he joined Delta.  He is mentioned in Gen. Blaber’s book, The Men, The Mission and Me, and in Sean Naylor’s book, Not a Good Day to Die, about the hunt for Bin Laden at Tora Bora.  Served several tours in Afganistan and Iraq.  Had about a week to go in Iraq and then home and retirement after serving 20 years.  Volunteered for that last mission and led a midnight raid to the home of an insurgent who had been tipped off they were coming.  He was first in the door. He and the man behind him, also a twin, were shot and killed there.  He had emailed me that am, and spoke about his plans for retirement. Left a widow, and a little girl.  Died June 17,05.  If you met him, he would seem so ordinary—no big shot, nobody special–yet he was awarded some very distinguished medals and was highly regarded by his men.  If he gave his word, you knew you could count on it.  Thank you for being interested, and in doing what you are doing.  Mary Horrigan”

Watch this video to learn why this stone is significant and what it says about MSG Robert M. Horrigan.


8 thoughts on “Army Master Sgt. Robert M. Horrigan

  1. What a powerful story Mary Alice! Your son was a brave and honorable man, and our state and our nation owe Him and your family a debt of gratitude for his selfless sacrifice. May God keep you. GSM Godmother, Nancy White ( Aunt of CPT J. Jay Brainard, KIA 5/28/2012)

  2. Mrs. Horrigan, my name is Kim Hamlyn. I am a member of The Patriot Riders of America Maine Chapter One, we are having a Spring Ride for the Troops and it will be my honor and privilege to carry your sons memory and stone on this ride. Your son was a true hero and role model. It is with deep sorrow and pride to honor him in such a wonderful way. I want to thank you for the ultimate sacrifice the loss of your son. My son served in Afghanistan and it was the toughest 10 months I have ever spent. I not only carry this stone for your sons memory but for all those who have served and are still serving. My husband Peter and I will be part of the Summit Project and I hope I have the opportunity to meet you and learn more about your son. God bless you and your family.

  3. Hi Mary,
    It was an honor to meet you during the hike. I had the honor of carrying your son’s stone to the summit, and placed it at the top along with the other stones. We observed a moment of silence and spoke about each of the soldiers – this was very emotional for me, as over the past few months, I have learned quite a bit about your son – I feel like I really know him. I’ve learned that he was a quiet humble man, that would never stop and never quit, and those are the feelings I had with me at the summit – his perserverance and love of his country. The sacrifice your son made was the ultimate sacrifice, but its important to know that the memory of your son is not forgotten, it will live on with me forever -and so will the moment that I presented the stone to you. It was an emotional touching moment that I will not soon forget.

    I can never understand what it feels like to lose a son defending our liberty, but I can make sure his sacrifice is worth it. I will have your son in my thoughts every time I live life to the fullest, remembering that I have these opportunities because of sacrifices like this. Thank you for raising an honorable and respectable citizen, who took the oath to defend our country.

    Manny Manno, TSP Hiker, Memorial Day 2014

  4. My youngest brother Mark McAfee was very proud to carry that precious stone across the finish line yesterday at the Trek Across Maine …what a brave son you have Mrs. Horrigan, I am proud of the true American soldier you raised….God Bless you

  5. Tony Barrett — Finishing cyclist of the 2014 Trek Across Maine wrote —

    I wanted to remember Bob (Army Master Sgt. Robert M. Horrigan) because he is an older casualty (would be 50 years old if still alive today) and I am older. He died on June 17 (Father’s Day weekend in 2005) on his last mission in Iraq before his retirement from the Army. The memorial stone that I carried was selected by his Mom from a family orchard in Belfast. I brought the stone back to Belfast on Sunday as part of 2014 Trek Across Maine.

    A photo and short description was mounted on the back of my bicycle. I am not a fast rider and while being passed by many of the 2,600 bicyclists (or ‘trekkers’ as they are called), they could see the photo. Also, when my bike was parked or at rest stops, people would stop and look at the photo. I would guess that about 50 people asked me about the photo which provided me an opportunity to tell Bob’s story – that he was a father killed on Father’s Dayweekend – that he was on his last mission & about to retire – and that the stone being carried with his inscription was from an orchard in Belfast. Many of those people with whom I spoke were touched by the story and thanked me for carrying the stone. Two bicyclists asked if they could carry the stone in their back jersey pocket (they didn’t have a rack or bag) –

    to which I agreed. However, they only made this request after long, uphill climbs (so they could have the downhill with the stone ). American Lung Association staffer, Katie O’Neill, sought me out at Colby College and asked for her photo to be taken with the stone. Katie had written a press release about the Summit Project and Maine Memorial for fallen soldiers, in which Bob’s name was mentioned. She also inserted into the evening program mention of the Summit Project and the names of the three soldiers being remembered.

    Carrying the stone certainly made me more aware of the sacrifice by young men & women from Maine. Several people that I talked to were vets themselves, were still working in the children with the Maine 133rd. The current circumstances in Iraq make Bob’s loss even more poignant. At the finish line, there was a signature board for all riders to sign their names to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Trek. Bob’s name is on the top center of the board.

    Tony Barrett Harpswell, ME June 17, 2014

  6. Dear family and friends of veteran,

    The Summit Project is one of the greatest experiences I have had in my high school career so far. With learning about war and literature in my English class and then being able to learn about our fallen soldiers in Maine, I was able to get the full picture of war in our lives today. We have read and watched many things about war and how it has affected people’s lives, and now that we are able to involve ourselves in this program, it made the unit even more interesting to learn.
    Reading about Robert Horrigan made realize the prices and tragedies of war. Horrigan served 7 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. What saddened me the most was that he died a week before was done his last tour. He was a father, a husband, a son, and a twin brother. Being so committed to the army, Horrigan was a very honorable soldier. He joined the army right after high school and continued on until he was forty. He was looked to being such an ordinary guy, but in truth he was so smart, wise, and brave. He was so brave that he was the first one to walk through the door before he was killed in Iraq, June 17, 2005.
    While I was carrying his rock up the mountain, I was thinking about his commitment and bravery to the army. His rock came from a stone wall near an apple tree that his mother used to play in when she was little. The stone was small yet had so much meaning. I am proud to be a part of the Summit Project. I will gladly join in again another day.

  7. Dear Loved Ones,

    I came into the summit project through my high school, Edward Little. As I researched Robert M. Horrigan I was overcome with admiration. He lived his life staying true to himself and to others. He was a natural born leader. The fact that he went from Rangers, to special forces, to delta force at such a young age is awe inspiring. It in fact inspired me to consider joining the Marines. From what his mother posted on the Summit website he was very modest, and that is something that is very hard to come by.

    As I carried his rock up Bradbury I kept on thinking about the uphill battle he went through, or all soldiers go through in war. I became so overwhelmed that I ran up Bradbury the whole way not stopping except for a few times to let the others catch up. I felt that if he had to give 110% the whole time then so should I. I imagined he had to run a lot so I thought I could connect a little better if I experienced some kind of physical exertion.

    I give you my condolences on the loss of him, whether he is your brother, father, son, nephew, or grandson. I know what it is like to lose family. I felt honored to be chosen to carry his memory. I wish I could have met him. He seemed to be kind of a mans man and a good friend. He was honest and almost never lied, which is very admirable since it is human nature to lie. I respect that a lot. I am positive that he is in a better place and the he wouldn’t want you all to be sad, but joyful for he has found his peace.


    Nathaniel E. Prescott
    Auburn, Maine.

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