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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Sgt. Mickel D. Garrigus

Died January 27, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


24, of Elma, Wash.; assigned to 543rd Military Police Company, 91st Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Jan. 27 of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during a combat patrol in Taji, Iraq.

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Army sergeant buried at Arlington National Cemetery

By Diana Marrero

Gannett News Service

ARLINGTON, Va. — Natasha Garrigus struggled to maintain her composure at her husband’s funeral Feb. 12 while she balanced her 1-year-old son in one arm and an American flag in the other.

The flag, folded into a perfect triangle, was presented to the 22-year-old widow by Army Brig. Gen. Rodney Johnson during the funeral for Army Sgt. Mickel David Garrigus at Arlington National Cemetery.

“He honored the flag,” said Lt. Col. James D. Gray, the Army chaplain who conducted the service. “Now the flag honors him.”

Garrigus, 24, died Jan. 27 in Taji, Iraq, after a roadside bomb blew up near his Humvee during combat patrol. Garrigus, whose wife and son now live in Indian Hills, Nev., was a military police officer based in Fort Drum, N.Y.

During the service, Gray said Garrigus was a devoted Christian who “highlighted the Bible with scriptures precious to him.”

The officer reminded the dozens of mourners who gathered at the gravesite that the cemetery was more than just a place for the dead.

“It is here that we have gathered to honor a soldier,” he said.

The somber ceremony took place under the gray skies of a chilly winter afternoon. Garrigus, who grew up in Washington state, was the 304th service member killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington. A total of 3,102 service members have been killed since the 2003 invasion.

Garrigus’ flag-draped casket arrived in a silver hearse and the wooden casket was carried by six soldiers to a fresh plot of earth on the west side of the cemetery. A 21-gun salute preceded a lone bugler’s mournful “Taps.”

Garrigus was on his second tour of duty when he was killed. He joined the Army just one month after graduating from Elma High School. He spent a year as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, then deployed to Iraq for the first time in 2004. He returned to Iraq last year.

The soldier spoke to his wife and son on the telephone the day before he died. Relatives and friends say Garrigus was a loving father and husband who doted on his son, Ethan.

Garrigus met his wife near Fort Lewis, Wash., where she worked at a Taco Bell. The two had been married for three years. Natasha Garrigus told the Reno Gazette-Journal that her husband was a friendly guy who wanted to become a highway patrol officer. He was studying online to earn a criminal justice degree.

“He always said he wanted to be the best dad he could be,” she said.

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