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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 Spc. Michael S. Cote Jr.

Died September 19, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


20, of Denham Springs, La.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, Task Force 49, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Sept. 19 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed.

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Met his wife during basic training

The Associated Press

Michael Cote wasn’t supposed to be focused on romance during basic training.

But he and the woman who would eventually become his wife, Ashlee — a fellow soldier — found a way around that policy. The two would secretly pass notes to each other and set dates for Sunday church services.

They married just days after finishing basic training. Their daughter, Brooke, was born in March.

“Every time he talked about Brooke, his face would light up,” said Chief Warrant Officer Pat Azan. “I asked him what he did when he was home on leave, and he told me all he did was hang around the house with his wife and daughter.”

Cote, 20, of Denham Springs, La., died Sept. 19 in Balad, Iraq, when the Black Hawk helicopter in which he was riding crashed. He was assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

A career in flight seemed fitting for Cote, who could always identify whatever aircraft was buzzing overhead, said his sister, Heather Cote. Whether it was an F-16 fighter jet or a Black Hawk like the one he served as a crew chief on, Michael Cote just knew.

“Mikey never, never, never had a doubt in his mind what he wanted to become, how he wanted to spend his life or how he would achieve that,” Heather Cote said.

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