Thursday, April 26, 2007

Michael L. Vaughan dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his location'

OTIS, Ore. — A soldier from this small coastal city was one of nine paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division killed this week by a suicide bomber in Iraq, his father said.

Mike Vaughan, 20, of Otis and the other soldiers were members of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bragg, N.C. It was the deadliest attack on the 82nd Airborne since 1969. Twenty other soldiers were injured in Monday’s attack in the small town of Sadah, U.S. officials said.

Vaughan, whose rank was not immediately available, is the third Lincoln County soldier to die in Iraq in the past six weeks. Lance Cpl. Nathanial Windsor, 20, of Newport died March 11 and Sgt. Nicholas Lightner, 29, of Toledo died March 21.

The soldier’s father, George Vaughan, told The Oregonian that his son had been home on leave in March.

“He had seen enough,” Vaughan said Tuesday. “He wanted to come home and go to school. But he was proud to be serving, and even though he was afraid to go back, he went because of his comrades and to finish off his commitment.”

Mike Vaughan signed up to join the Army before he graduated from Taft High School in Lincoln City, his father said. Two months after his 2004 graduation, he went to boot camp.

“I am a disabled vet from the first Gulf War, and I think he wanted to be involved,” George Vaughan said. The young soldier’s grandfather, Bill Vaughan, is a Korean War veteran.

While home last month, he spent time with his school friend, Jesse Branum-O’Dell.

“He was outgoing, a fun person to be around,” Branum-O’Dell said. “He did tell me some things that were going on with the war, and he definitely saw some things that other people would have never believed.

“I got the feeling something was bothering him, like he didn’t want to go back out, but he never came out and said that.”

From the Statesman Journal