Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch

21, of Dubuque, Iowa.
Deutsch was in a vehicle that was struck by an explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq. Deutsch was assigned to 1st Squadron, 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment, Armstrong Barracks, Germany. Died on July 31, 2003.

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"There is not a day that goes by when I don't think about PVT Deutsch. My MP security team and I were on the overpass directly above the site where PVT Deutsch's APC hit the landmine. We weer on the seen immediately and helped get the crew out of the vehicle and began treating them right away. Unfortunately, PVT Deutsch was injured too severely and he died in my arms as I tried to comfort him in his final moments. This young man gave all for his country and should be remembered as the hero he was. RIP Warrior, your fight has ended and you are at rest."
Todd Harrison, LTC (R) of Indianapolis, IN, USA

"Deutsch, man......long....long time Mike. It's taken me years to come to grips with our relationship. Can't say that I really truly have. In Feb 2003 I was medical boarded out of the Army. Michael was the new name on the in-coming roster. He replaced me as 113 driver for C Troop. I was non-deployable...he came into Comanche and took my spot to Iraq. I didn't get to know him too well - he was super quiet and hadn't yet gotten used to all our Mortar craziness. 1-1 Cav deployed shortly after he came. Mike - rest in peace. God bless you and your family. I can't and won't forget our connection, Mike."
Chris Mayes of Kaiserslautern, Germany

"I still think about you brother. You'll never be forgotten. Mortars are hung!!"
Allen Martinez of Lindsay CA USA


Not a day goes by where I don't think of you, brother. Its been over 10 years, and I still remember fondly training with you at Infantry School. They even put a mural in memory of you at C 2/19 at Ft. Benning. Everyone will always remember you as a hard-working, dedicated soldier who fought hard for his country.

You have not died in vain. I will be returning to military service, and fight in your stead... fighting so that, God willing, I am able to help bring one more brother home.

Not a day goes by that I do not think of you and your sacrifice. I wish we got to spend more time together. Really wanted a ride in that Nissan. Next time, Brother... next time."
Ryan Wolf-Beymer of Buffalo, NY

I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike C. of El Paso, Texas

"Today marks 10 years since an IED took the life of a good kid, Michael Deutsch. Although I had not had the honor of actually meeting Mike Deutsch, from what I have heard about him, he was a kind kid who did not complain and did not ask for help. In retrospect, he was probably too good for this world.

A little over 10 years ago, I remember almost meeting him. I remember driving around Pioneer Kasserne in Germany with Dan Lacaria trying to find Mike to give him a ride. It was a very rainy afternoon and someone had called Dan to say they had seen Mike waiting at the bus stop in the rain. We drove around for about an hour to find him in order to give him a ride back to Budingen, but little did we know, fortunately, the bus made it there before we did :)During that drive, I was told how kind and quiet Mike was and how he would have never asked for a ride, making it all the more important for us to find him so he did not have to wait for a bus in the rain.

In April, 1-1 Cav deployed, taking my friends, some of my running partners with them, and leaving their innocence behind. Communication was poor. Every day I scanned all of the on-line news outlets in order to make sure none of my running partners had any reason to be featured.

3 months. A Vietnam vet once said that the first 3 months is the most detrimental for soldiers to get their bearings and build their reflexes. July 31st 2003. Just past 3 months, 8 am CNN.com showed a picture, headlined a story that was to unfold as the day went on about the event that resulted in the death of a good kid, Michael Deutsch, who just months before had been waiting for the bus, in the rain, just 1/2 a mile away. A few days later Mike's memorial at the Budingen chapel.
A year later, facing some of my acquaintances at the PX when they had returned (grievously, without 1)- I was so relieved to have them back, especially after they had been extended for 3 months Easter weekend. Nunnley (previously happy-go-lucky)and Rivera (my friend's previously light hearted husband) always and forever changed.
Every July 31st since, I always remember Michael Deutsch. The life he gave made a huge impact on those of us who were even barely peripherally acquainted with him. It is so difficult to wrap my heart and mind around the void he must have left for those who knew and cared for him best.
It has been 10 years and your son, your brother, your friend has NOT been forgotten and never will be forgotten."
Elizabeth (Mammina) Dincher of Lancaster, PA, USA

"Dearest Deutsch Family, I received your son's name on a magnet at a memorial for veteran's who had died, the memorial took place in Ann Arbor MI many years ago. I still keep that magnet. Your sacrifice and his service mean a lot to me. Please contact me because I want to make a donation to the organization of your choice. address with"
Paquetta A Palmer of Ann Arbor MI

"Correction to the post below, Michael had 2 nieces that were the most important part of his world."
Derrick Nunley

"9 years ago today a soldier fighting in Iraq gave his life for our country and her people. PFC Michael Deutsch left Dubuque, Iowa to do his part serving our country as a U.S. Infantry soldier. Months after arriving to Budingen, Germany he deployed as a 1-1 Cav Commanch Troop Mortarman to Iraq (OIF1). Michael fought a battle against an unconventional and unseen enemy. The first month there he spent defending an oil refinery, sleeping on an army cot under the stars as there no shelters or tents to throw up. Even with the heat, mosquitoes and ration of 2 large bottles of water and 3 MRE's a day he was the last to ever complain. Michael would soldier on, not letting the job or the feeling of missing out on life bring him down. He was 20 years old at this point and all of his friends he had left behind had no idea where he was or what he was doing. I remember that being the hardest part for me, I thought of my friends and family at home, what everyone else was doing while we sat around manning a tower, waiting for a fight. It felt like the whole world was flying by around us and we were just sitting on the sidelines idle, waiting and falling behind. Michael never complained though, he would pull his guard duty, do pushups, sit-ups and dips by his cot, dig a hole to crap, shower with a water bottle, joke with the rest of us, read his books, and repeat. I remember sitting in a guard tower with him one night talking about where we would travel to and what we would eat when we got back..a schnitzel in Germany, take a train to Italy for some spaghetti and pizza, stopping in Switzerland for some cheese, etc. He had a niece and a nephew that he was always talking about too, the most important part of his life I am certain.
After finally leaving the oil refinery Michael drove his M113 personnel carrier along in a convoy into Baghdad, right onto one of Saddams biggest compounds, right past the palaces of the former dictator which were partially destroyed from U.S. JDAM bombs and surrounded by large lakes which were said to have been filled when Saddam diverted the water from Baghdad, leaving his people in the city without water for 3 days. After shutting off his vehicle and stepping out into the new make-shift motor pool, Mike was given an initial brief.. ďdonít go anywhere without a battle-buddy, only * in the trenches to the west, we will be pulling people for a detail to burn it later, donít get too close to the walls as they have been throwing grenades over trying to reach us, be careful of where you step..there are uxoís (unexploded ordinance) everywhere, including one 5 feet off the walkway to the TOCĒ.
After a few days of living in the motor pool they were given a more permanent place to live. Settling into a small concrete house which was formerly occupied by officials of Saddam Husseinís regime, PFC Deutsch and the rest of C troop began their operations in the city. For the next 3 months Michael worked hard, doing what he knew to be right. He pulled guard, worked on his vehicle, drove countless hours of patrols through some of the worse parts of Baghdad, set up vehicle checkpoints, participated in cordon searches of entire neighborhoods, and raids on target houses, apprehended suspects and guys who were without a doubt enemy. In his limited personal time Michael would read and work out, those were his biggest past times. He would also laugh with the other guys, and joke around happily. Somehow he even got his hands on a bike, I believe he bought it off a local who sold us items through a hole that was broken in the perimeter wall beneath a guard tower..only they didnít give him a seat with it. We would all laugh but he would stick his Kevlar helmet over the seat post and ride around the compound, to the gym and back, without being bothered in the least.
Michael Deutsch was killed by a faceless foe on the 31st of July, 2003 when his 113 struck an anit-tank land mine in an area that we commonly patrolled. The cowardice enemy who placed it feared the might of our military and the fearless dedication and abilities of soldiers like PFC Deutsch, so he crept through the shadows at night, relying on guerrilla warfare tactics to strike a blow.
We all mourned for the loss of our comrade, fellow soldier and friend. We still do to this day. Michael has moved on but he remains in our thoughts and prayers and always will. The house was cold and lonely without him around but as everyone dealt with the loss of a brother we eagerly got back out and into the mission, and brought the fight back to the enemy. Our leaders and decision makers learned from Michaels sacrifice and began varying our tactics which doubtlessly saved the lives of other soldiers. I remember looking out during the memorial service, right after 21 rounds were sent out over Baghdad and seeing grown men, hardened soldiers hiding their tears with sun-glasses or a raised hand. Itís a hard thing when a loved one dies, especially when they are so young and strong and full of life. Michal was a warrior with nothing but good intentions and he touched many people. The chaplain who delivered the memorial service said that God had made his bed in heaven and had called him home where he belonged. I hope you are resting peacefully, brother. We miss you and are thankful for what you have meant in our lives."
Derrick Nunley of Shindand Air Base Afghanistan

"My heart aches for your loss...I can't even begin to imagine...I have no words of comfort...so I just sit quietly beside you in my thoughts so that you know you are not completely alone...may beautiful memories be your constant companion and comfort through all the firsts, seconds, and forever. Thank you for all that you have given."
Darla Olson of Denver, IA

""To the family of Michael J.Duetsch ,I am so sorry for the loss of your love one.He died a hero.May you know the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need someone to pray with you or talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church,Rev John B Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015""

"We miss you brother! We will never forget your sacrifice."

"June 9, 2008
To the family of Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch:
Michael gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"mike thank you. wayne sr., eileen, thank you also. stinging bits of reality mixed with amazing memories overwhelm me sometimes as im lost facing my rudementery life,these little pieces of lost innocence help to put everything into perspective. mike remember when we were 16 and we sat in your garage and talked about conquering the world ? i cant believe 10 yrs has passed so fast. im still trying though!and now any time i hear metallica's "hero of the day" it just is that much more poigniant! "...BUT WHAT IF THEY SHOULD FALL BY SOMEONES WICKED WAY...""
Aaron Feldman of dubuque ,ia

"Mike it has been 4 years and not a day goes by that I don't think of you. You did so much for me and I will never forget you.Even to this day you get me through the rough times.
Love you Michael"
Your neice of Iowa

"I always loved Mike, right from the first time we met. I only wish that things could be different and that God had not chosen to take him. I think about him more and more. He was my first love, my one true friend I had in my life, and someone who always was a step outside of the box. Kudos to his mom and dad, whom I knew, for raising a brillant man who still touches everyone's lives. I talk about him a lot. I have many pictures of him, and I share them with everyone I know. Everytime I see a shirt with a silly saying on it, I think of him. He could always make a statement without saying a word. I only hope that his life, and what he stood for, along with his death, motivates everyone who knew him to live to their fullest in his honor. I know I do........"
Sarah of Dubuque, IA

"I can't believe it has been almost 4 years. I think of Mike everyday. I think of his family everyday too. Although many tears have been shed, and feelings of grief still lye in many of Mike's loved-ones hearts, he was the ultimate hero. Mike was passionate about everything he did, not to mention a genius. I will never forget how he made everyone laugh or smile whenever he would crack a joke. I will never forget when he broke off the antenna of my parents car when he was "car surfing" in a parking lot. I will always have these and many more memories.

He was truly a great friend.
We love you Mike."
Sara (Feldman) Albertsen of Cedar Falls, IA

"michael was a very good guy. i used to work in the bar where he always had his beer, and the last thing he said to me and my friend was...when i come back from iraq i want u guys to have a cold beer ready for me...a few weeks later we heard that he died. we will never forget u michael"
miriam of buedingen germany

"My condolences go out to Pvt Deutsch's family. I checked ID cards on post in Buedingen, Germany. I joked with him about his name once or twice, being that we were in Deutsch Land. His sacrifice was for the freedom of every American. Pvt. Deutsch, thank you."
Jennifer Zabel "Duckworth" of Placerville, Ca.

"Michael I miss you so!!!! I love you, you were my best friend, its been really hard without you, the only thing that keeps me going is the memories, but even they make me cry. I can't wait to get a hug from you again someday."

"To Michael's Family,

I am deeply saddened for your loss. While I never knew your son, I share the same name with him, which is how I came across the websight when surfing the internet. I read some many great things about Michael and his dedication to our great country. I know you have to be deeply saddened, yet very proud. Again, I send my deepest sympathies."
Michael J. Deutsch of Fargo, ND 58102

"Hey Deutsch,

Brother i have had you in my heart for a long time. I always will. You mortar men were a bunch of crazies, Martinez, Nunely, Big Mike, a great bunch of guys that i feel as brothers. Your passing has been in my heart, since the last time we spoke before you went on that patrol. I always think of you bro, and wear my KIA braclet proudly. I was in Santa Monica a while back and they were having a Arlington cementary thing at the beach, with crosses. Bro I put a name on a cross in your name. I cried like no other. Bro. I feel deeply for your friends and family. I will see you again some day bro.
To your family
my contact number is
God Bless."
David Zavala of San Leandro, Ca.

"To the Parents of my best friend, I miss him so much ,I wish everyday I could have said something else, the last hour I saw him. He grew into the Mortar platoon brotherhood, everyday I hold his ID tags and wish it was him and not some stupid piece of meatel. I ...I....
think about him everyday, and pray one day we will reunite all of the boys for one last good time .........
Allen Martinez....
739 N I ST.
Tulare CA 93274
760 267 4036
he was a good friend"
Allen"BOMB" Martinez of FT.IRWIN,CA/USA

"Derrick, Thank you so much for your posting. I received a letter from Lt. Lacaria today (1/16). It means so much to me (Michael's sister)and my daughters (his neices) that you all take the time to offer your thoughts and share your grief with us. I hope that you and your family are doing well. Although we miss Michael so much, we are also so grateful for each and everyone of you that comes back safe. I hope you are adjusting well and please know that you are our hero as well. Shalom. S. Greenwood, Ankeny Iowa."
Stephanie of Ankeny Iowa

"To Michael's family,
I would like you to know that there are many of us who continue to grieve with you over the loss of a great person and soldier. We were a close group of brothers and we will always miss him. We were with him on the day that God called him home and our hearts will continue to stay with him forever. He was a good person with a good heart and we will never forget what he has done for us and our country."
Derrick Nunley of DeSoto, Kansas

"SPC Lyons and family,
I hope that you will get this message! THank you for the message you left regarding my brother Michael. We do miss him daily! I know, SPC LYons that you were good friends with my brother and I want to thank you for that. Not that he was hard to like! :) A more altrustic and caring person I have never known. At any rate I wanted to thank you for your posting and let you know that I am glad to hear that you are well and back home from the sounds of it. If you are ever comfortable talking about your friendship with Michael I would like to hear about it! I had some brief communication with LT. Dan after Michael died and I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have the bits and pieces of stories about my brother! Riding his bike through camp using his cevlar as a seat! What a hoot! Definately sounds like my brother! Thank you for your service to our country and for being a friend to my brother."
Stephanie Greenwood of Ankeny Iowa 6/10/05

"To the family of Michael J. Deutsch:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"Thank you so much for your service and the ultimate sacrafice that you gave to our country. You will not be forgotten! I wear your name on my wrist (on a hero bracelet) every day and people ask me who you are I tell them a falllen hero!"
Rebecca Roth of Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX.

"My intent in writing this message is not to bring on any more tears. I just wanted to let you all know that everything was done that could be done for Michael but there were greater powers working that day. My husband, Spc. Lyons, is a medic and was in that vehicle and in that explosion. He and many others did all they could to save Michael's life but like I said, it wasn't for them to save. My husband doesn't talk much about his experience, but, he has told me that Deutsch was a good guy and a good soldier. I believe that only the good die young, and although I didn't know Michael personally, I'm sure many would agree that he fits into this catagory. Our thoughts go out to all of Michael's family and friends. I'm sorry for your loss but grateful for your and his ultimate sacrifice. Respectfully, Melissa, Brendan and Alex"
Wife of Medic in 1-1 Cav of Hanua, Germany

"I never got to meet Michael or his family. I kinda wish I did. My demo team started a project back in January of 2004 and it will end in September of 2004. We never got permission from Michael's family to put his name on the car but nobody in IOWA can forget them 15 brave souls. May they Rest in Peace and God bless their families. If anyone knows information on Michael's family please e-mail me b/c we would be honored to put his name on next year ( derby_girl_2004@yahoo.com)"
Ana Farrier, T.C.B. Demo of Washington, Iowa

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..7/31/04

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier!!! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"Michael its been to long since we have talked and im sorry to have heard the news.. brother i have cryed, after hearing the news i love you, like the best friend i can be. but if anyone has any news about his death please feel free to e-mail me. -Your Friend Your Brother Josh Puccio (Joshua.Puccio@ Us.Army.Mil)"
Josh Puccio of Dubuque Iowa

"We miss you and will always remember you. See you on the other side brother.

Your Friends
TJ and Family"
TJ Stapleton of Dubuque, Iowa

"mike...we all miss you, i miss you...i can only hope and pray that you knew this in your last moments of life...
forever love..."
a friend who has not forgotten of Iowa

"Private Deutsch, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Michael, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Pvt Deutsch's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Michael was taken from you. There is no doubt his thoughts were of you as he served with the Army in Iraq. We will never forget. You are in our hearts."
With Love....Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida (2/9/04)

"Thank you Michael Deutsch, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"This message is being posted by the sister of Pvt Deutsh. If it is in any way possible to be put in contact with the soldier you say was with my brother when he died, it would be very much appreciated. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. Our family hopes that all who have family overseas will return home safely. Stephanie Greenwood."
Stephanie Greenwood of Ankeny Iowa

"I found the identity of this soldier on the internet because I communicate regularly with the medic who was by his side when he died. From his descriptions of Deutsch and the circumstances surrounding the event, I found this soldier, whom my friend did not even know - not even his name. I am glad I will be able to share Deutsch's identity with the soldier who tried to save his life, but instead watched him die."
Carolyn of San Jose, California

"My name is Elisha Pahnke, wife of fallen soldier PFC Shawn Pahnke. My husband was stationed In FRiedburg Germany 1-37 1st armored division. May God Bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. I know that there are no words that can truely comfort you now but know that you are not alone. And that our soldiers will always be with us."
Elisha Pahnke of Shelbyville, IN

"To the Family you are in my prayers...May God bless you. I do want to say it was a honor to have him in our military Thanks for serving our country"
Stacey (Proud Army Wife) of Zephyrhills,Florida

"To the family and friends of Pvt. Michael Deutsch:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Michael for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Pvt. Michael Deutsch:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Michael, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on