Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr. died in Afghanistan while saving the life of an Afghan child. His sacrifice has been noted elsewhere in the media including ABC Good Morning America and the following account from Kris Gonzalex U.S. Army.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (3/29/12) — The actions of one Rhode Island National Guard Soldier epitomized the Army Value of selfless service, “doing one’s duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain,” as he heroically saved an Afghan child without regard for his own life.
Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr. died March 22, from injuries sustained when he was struck by an armored fighting vehicle after moving an Afghan child to safety.
“Sadly, today we realized the death of a Rhode Island National Guard Soldier in a combat zone, and we are once again reminded of the enduring sacrifice our Soldiers and Airmen have made, and continue to make, in service to this great country,” said Army Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride, adjutant general of the Rhode Island National Guard, in a press release March 23.
Weichel, an infantryman, mobilized with Company C, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 56th Troop Command, to Camp Atterbury, Ind. in November 2011, and then deployed forward to Afghanistan in early March.
On the morning of March 22, Weichel and members of his unit were leaving the Black Hills Firing Range in Laghman province, Afghanistan, when they encountered multiple Afghan children in the path of their convoy. Weichel was among several Soldiers who dismounted to disperse the children away from the vehicles.
As one child attempted to retrieve an item from underneath a U.S. Army mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, , known as an MRAP, Weichel moved her to safety and was struck by the MRAP in the process.
Weichel was evacuated to the Jalalabad Medical Treatment Facility where he succumbed to his wounds.
The circumstances of Weichel’s death speak to his character, said Staff Sgt. Ronald Corbett, Weichel’s mentor who deployed with him to Iraq in 2005.
“He would have done it for anybody,” said Corbett. “That was the way he was. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was that type of guy.”
Weichel was posthumously promoted from the rank of specialist to sergeant March 26.
You can read the full article by Kris Gonzalex U.S. Army HERE.