PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Michael Strange never worried when he was deployed to warzones overseas, but his family worried for him. Saturday morning, they got the news they dreaded.
Petty Officer First Class Michael Strange died serving his country. Strange was one of 31 U.S. special operations troops who died when insurgents struck their helicopter in the Wardak province of Afghanistan late Friday. His family says it is still hard to believe. They find comfort in memory.
“He was intense, he was funny, he had that dry humor,” said his father, Charles Strange.
The 25-year-old graduated from North Catholic High School in 2004 and set out on the military career of his dreams. He was going to be a Navy Seal.
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“He graduated in June and in August, he went up to the Navy,” said his father, “and he went right up the ladder.”
Strange loved being in the service and especially in the SEALs. He took pride in his work, and his family took pride in him. He was six years into his service. His family says he was on his third tour in Afghanistan.
He was home in June for his birthday and promised to be back for Thanksgiving, a promise his family prayed he could keep.
“He loved his family, his sister. He just became an uncle,” Charles Strange said, fighting back tears.
Neighbors along the family’s street flew their American flags, a tribute to a young man who gave his life to helping others.
Charles Strange says his son volunteered for the rescue mission that took his life. He was a hero to the very end.
Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3