July 28, 2006, - 6:42 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
We’ve written quite a bit about Michigan National Guardsman, Sgt. Duane Dreasky (here, here, here, and here), who fought for 8 months to survive wounds from a terrorist attack near Habbaniyah, Iraq. The heroic Dreasky suffered burns over 75% of his body, but still tried to salute President Bush when he visited his bedside.
Dreasky wasn’t even supposed to be in Iraq because after a year as a guard in Guantanamo Bay, he was assigned to be a recruiter in Michigan. But he volunteered to go.
Sadly, after a valiant fight, Sgt. Dreasky, at age 31, passed away, just over two weeks ago. His memorial service was Saturday in Walled Lake, Michigan. On Tuesday, this American hero was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, an honor he certainly has earned. He was also promoted in rank to Staff Sgt.
Here is an excerpt of the coverage from The Detroit News’ Edward Cardenas and Gordon Trowbridge:
They remembered Staff Sgt. Duane J. Dreasky’s gung-ho attitude, how he was proud of the sharp, starched lines of his uniform and his spit-shined boots. They chuckled over how he once turned off the hot water to a friend’s shower as a practical joke. How he made a cake out of Twinkies and Ho Hos for a birthday celebration.
Most of all, members of Michigan National Guard Company B, 125th Infantry remembered Dreasky as a fighter . . . .
“Even though I was his leader, he had qualities I wanted to have,” said Staff Sgt. Keenon Wallace, who supervised Dreasky during an earlier deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “He wasn’t ‘like’ my brother. He WAS my brother.” . . .
“If I had an army (of soldiers) like him, I wouldn’t have a job to do,” said Sgt. Maj. Dan Lincoln, whom Dreasky begged for a spot on deployments to Cuba and then to Iraq. . . .
Staff Sgt. Tom Barrett, 25, of Kalamazoo became close friends with Dreasky while they roomed together in Cuba. . . .
“There wasn’t one thing he did poorly as a soldier,” said Barrett. “Here he is, a National Guard soldier who’s supposed to work one weekend a month and two weeks a year, and he would constantly volunteer to serve.”
From the Detroit Free Press:
Maj. Gen. Tom Cutler of the Michigan Army National Guard [said] “America just lost an outstanding young person.” . . .
Staff Sgt. Rob Witgen, 39, of Williamston served with Dreasky in Cuba and Iraq. Witgen was not surprised when Dreasky fought to live, for so many months, enduring so much pain while showing so much dignity and class. . . . “He was the epitome of a soldier,” Witgen said. “He was a fighter. His body gave out before his will.”
Staff Sgt. Duane Dreasky, American Hero, Rest in Peace.
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