Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today Remember Army Sgt. Michael J. Garcia, 27-years-old

Today Remember Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia, 27, of Bossier City, LA, who was killed July 4, 2011.

He was killed on Independence Day serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Assigned to the 63rd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 20th Support Command, Fort Polk, La.; He died in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia died doing what he loved, friends say.

He joined the Army after graduating from high school in 2001.

“He loved what he did, he absolutely loved what he did,” said his girlfriend, Shelby Martinez, who said he was “the happiest he ever was in his whole life deployed in Afghanistan.”

Precise and methodical, he always arranged to have birthday and holiday presents sent to family and friends even while deployed, and even left instructions with one of his sisters as to what would need to be done if he died.

His best friend, who was also in Afghanistan, was killed in February. He was sad and angry but had decided to live with the happy memory of what they had.

Christine Geisler Thomas who knew Garcia since high school said, “He was amazing. There’s no other way to describe Michael.”

In everyday life, Garcia was “an all-around nice guy,” she said. “He was handsome, he made you laugh. He knew how to make somebody’s day. I keep thinking, ‘Of all the people, why him?’ ” Thomas said.

This week, his buddies in Afghanistan recalled his impact on the unit.
"When something went wrong or didn't seem to work out he never got rattled or lost his temper, he simply fixed it and moved on," said Sgt. 1st Class Willis Fontenot, a 705th EOD noncommissioned officer from Mamou.

Capt. Aaron Teller, commander of 705th, said its soldiers looked up to Garcia because of his tenure and his extensive EOD knowledge base.
"You could always count on his rock-solid judgment and his common-sense approach to all challenges," Teller said. "Staff Sergeant Garcia simply drove on to get the mission done."

Michael was less than a month away from his 28th birthday.

Never Forget!

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