Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mickel D. Garrigus dies of injuries from I.E.D.

Ethan Garrigus had his first birthday Jan. 22. His parents' third wedding anniversary was Jan. 3. His mom's birthday is today. The happy dates were on everyone's mind as Ethan's family gathered around his grandparents' phone in the small Grays Harbor County town of Elma on Friday. Ethan smiled and made delighted "goo-gahs" when he heard his 24-year-old father's voice on the other end of the line from Iraq.

Each member of the family took a turn talking with Ethan's dad, Sgt. Mickel David Garrigus, a military police officer whose Fort Drum, N.Y.-based unit has been in Iraq since November. The next day, they took Ethan and his mom, Natasha, to the airport to fly back to her parent's home in Nevada.

That night, Natasha called her in-laws: Her husband, their son, Ethan's father had been killed in Iraq.

Garrigus died when a roadside bomb blew up near his Humvee in Baghdad. He had absorbed a blast that would have killed others, his fellow soldiers told the family. The 2001 Elma High School graduate was on his second deployment to Iraq.

"I still don't believe it," Garrigus' mother, Deadra, said Tuesday. "I'm still numb. It's like my son is not dead. Just this morning I checked the phone to see if he called me. I picked it up to see if he called. I wasn't for sure. I called his number, and there was nothing."

Garrigus, who served with the 543rd Military Police Company within the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, N.Y., is the 152nd member of the armed forces with close ties to Washington to die in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. He is among six associated with this state by hometown or military community known to have been killed in January:

From the Post Intelligencer