Thursday, May 10, 2007

Michael A. Pursel dies of injuries from I.E.D.

The families of two Utah men are coping with the news that their soldiers' are among the latest military casualties in Iraq.

Virgil Chance Martinez lived in West Jordan. He was 33 and died Monday in a roadside bomb attack.

Michael Pursel, of Hooper, died Sunday in a similar attack in the Diyala Province. His mother is a captain in the Air Force Reserve. She'll remember her son as a hero.

Teresa Dutcher says, "Since he was two years old that's all he's ever wanted to do was be in the army. He always would come home from school and put on "bdu's" and put makeup on his face and run outside and just do nothing but play army."

Michael left for basic training right out of high school and requested to go to Fort Lewis in Washington where his dad retired from the military. He also joined the church his parents had been involved in when they were there. He was passionate about his Christian faith.

He had just e-mailed these words to his pastor there, "I have peace. I know the Lord. He is with me and I am not afraid."

His Stryker brigade at Fort Lewis has suffered many catastrophic hits and the call came out for volunteers to relieve them.

His mom says Michael was the first to raise his hand.

"He was going to serve his country and do what his calling was and that was to be a big soldier and do the right thing. We all have to do our part as a G.I., as a soldier. We know that we all have to give ourselves and we do. We raise our hand and run as fast as we can do what it is that we have to do and Michael raised his hand and he went."

He arrived in Iraq on March 26th. His mom just spoke with him on Saturday. On Sunday, Michael was traveling in the Diyala Province with a group of soldiers when they were hit by a bomb. Six soldiers were killed, as was a Russian photographer.

Now his mother deals with the pain of his loss knowing her son was doing that which he loved.

Captain Dutcher says, "Not many people get to live their dream and Michael was living his dream. And I also want people to know that Michael was a Christian ... And I have comfort in knowing that I will see my soldier again and I'm very proud of my son for what he has done."

From ABC 4