U.S. Army battalion honors second fallen soldier since arrival in Iraq
HIT, Iraq (July 28, 2006) – U.S. soldiers serving in this city of 30,000 in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province memorialized the second U.S. soldier killed in action here since February.
Hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers gathered at one of the U.S. military’s forward operating bases in the city to memorialize Spc. Michael J. Potocki, a 21-year-old native of Baltimore, Md., and 2003 graduate of Patterson Senior High School in Baltimore.
Potocki, who spent six months in Iraq during 2004, was part of the Friedburg, Germany-based 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment – the U.S. Army unit assigned to provide security in this mostly Sunni city, located about 70 miles northwest of Ramadi.
The battalion suffered the death of Pfc. Jeremy Wayne Ehle, a 19-year-old from Alexandria, Va., who died April 2 as a result of a wound received during combat operations.
Potocki, an infantryman with the battalion’s Alpha Company, nicknamed “Team Raider,” was shot during combat operations in Hit June 26, and died in a medical facility at the U.S. military base in Al Asad, Iraq.
“He was a new breed of infantry soldier, but more importantly, he was a helluva person,” said Potocki’s team leader, Cpl. William McCoy, during the ceremony. “He is what I would want another country to see an American as.”
By Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin
Public Affairs Chief
Regimental Combat Team 7