Sunday, July 01, 2007

Michael Montpetit remembered

After deployments to Korea, Kuwait and two tours in Iraq, Army Sgt. Michael Jeffrey Montpetit didn't care where the Army sent him and he wasn't in a rush to come back home to Hawai'i.

"He loves Hawai'i," Montpetit's wife, Christina, said from their home in Copperas Cove, Texas. "But he said his home was where we were."

Michael and Christina just bought their first home together — a four-bedroom, two-bath, single-family house just outside the Fort Hood Army base — when Michael was deployed to Iraq on Oct. 23.

Then on Friday, Christina learned that Michael, a mechanic, had died eight hours before when he was electrocuted while working on a generator outside of Baghdad. The Pentagon classified Montpetit's death as a "non-combat-related incident" and said it is under investigation.

Montpetit, 31, was assigned to the 15th Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

Montpetit is survived by his wife, Christina; their 12-year-old son, Christian; 8-year-old daughter, Courtney; his father, Michael L. Montpetit of Wai'anae; mother, Kathleen Vasconcellos, stepfather, Bill Vasconcellos and sister Brenda Montpetit, all of Pearl City.

"He was just a really good guy who loved his kids and his parents and his sister," Christina said. "He was willing to go anywhere the Army sent him because he knew it was his job."

Montpetit grew up in Palolo Valley, dropped out of Kaimuki High School and got a job at Pizza Hut on Wai'alae Avenue, where he met and fell in love with Christina when they were both 18.

Christina, the daughter of a career sailor, moved to Hawai'i after graduating from high school in Kansas. She persuaded Montpetit to go back and obtain his high school equivalency degree.

"School wasn't for him," Christina said. "He's very smart, but sitting in class just wasn't his thing."

Montpetit turned to the Army, where he had his choice of assignments in New York, Texas or Germany.

"We were so young," Christina said. "We weren't sure if he should go to another country and we weren't sure how populated the New York area would be. So we picked Texas, where they have the largest Army base."

Montpetit was sent to Korea and served two tours in Kuwait and two more in Iraq, and worked as a mechanic fixing generators and trucks with his company.

He was trying to be promoted to warrant officer and would have re-enlisted for another 10 years to continue fixing generators and trucks, Christina said.

"If he had made warrant officer, he would have definitely re-enlisted," she said. "He would have done 10 more years and made the Army his career."

A visitation will be held Monday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Copperas Cove, Texas. A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home.

From the Honolulu Advertiser

Related Link:
Michael J. Montpetit dies 'of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident'