"Just a picture of two middle-aged married guys, far away from home, missing their families."
I would like to tell you about my friend and teammate, Major Michael Mundell. Mike was killed last Friday by an IED while on our way to assist another unit in trouble. He was the 3007th death in Iraq.
I met Mike at Fort Hood Texas, where a bunch of strangers were thrown together to form a tight-knit 11-man team and ironically we did just that. I have to admit I didn't like Mike at first, but we ended up being the closest of friends and we jokingly referred to our relationship as a "marriage of convenience".
He was originally from Pittsburgh, the son of a cop and a housewife. Mike's parents instilled a sense of duty in him that motivated him to become Army officer. He served in Germany. Later, he worked for the Federal Reserve Bank in Cincinnati and then as a civilian contractor for the U.S. Army Armor Training Center at Fort Knox.
He was married with four children; his oldest will be graduating High School this spring. He loved history and his knowledge of the civil war was phenomenal. He was a voracious reader. He would start one book in the morning and have the second one done before bedtime. He was 46 years old and he took a lot of abuse from the Marine Corp augments who are young enough to be his children. He loved the Pittsburgh Steelers and loved being a soldier.
What I want you all to know is that the people who fight and die here aren't special and they aren't different. They're people just like you and me: they have families, they pay bills, and they have Bar-B-Qs. They aren't heroes and they aren't saints, they're just people who have a job to do.
Mike wasn't a hero, he was better then a hero... Mike was a professional. Mike took his job seriously and the lives of everyone on the team seriously. His Iraqi counterparts paid him the highest complement; they called him... Brother. I will miss him every day.
I have a dozen pictures of Mike and me together, we were together on every mission including the one where he was killed, but I have only one picture of us without all our war gear on.
It's just a picture of two middle aged married guys, far away from home, missing their families.
A "little note about my friend Mike", sent by MAJ Todd Fredette.
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