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Army Pfc. Michael P. Pittman

Died June 15, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

34, of Davenport, Iowa; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died June 15 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire.

Family, friends remember soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

Michael P. Pittman would stop by the Army recruiter’s officer right after work, hoping for good news.

“He was very eager to get in, and he checked in every day,” said Sgt. Eric Kleineweber. “As an older recruit, there was a lot of paperwork for him to fill out and get passed through. When one piece of paper cleared, he was ready to get another in.”

Pittman, 34, of Davenport, Iowa, was killed June 15 in Baghdad by a bomb blast and small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

“He had his down times, but he was pretty much the one who was encouraging everybody,” said his wife, Jennifer. “He was just always putting others in front of himself.”

He had dreams of going to college, so he could teach art. “He loved art. He was an artist. He could draw anything and everything,” said his mother, the Rev. Sandra Hughes.

His brother Kirk recalled years of troublemaking — like shooting his brother in the foot with a pellet gun — how he used to get Pittman into the “craziest positions,” and how Pittman somehow always managed to prevail.

He also is survived by his children, Reannah, Micah, Christian and Joy.

Davenport soldier buried amid family’s tearful farewells

The Associated Press

BETTENDORF, Iowa — A little girl stood by a casket June 22, stroking the still face of her uniformed father.

Army Pfc. Michael Pittman, 34, left behind four children when he died June 15 in an explosion in Iraq. He also left a wife, two brothers and a sister who wept inconsolably through his funeral. One of his brothers vowed to “love and think about” Pittman every day for the rest of his life.

“Michael told me, ‘No matter what happens, my family will be taken care of,’ ” Kirk Pittman eulogized of his brother. “I knew then that he was a great man.”

During the service, a large video screen inside the church flashed photos of a smiling boy at Christmas, and other snapshots that portrayed Pittman’s love for his family.

There were shots of a school boy and, later, a man.

Pittman was a member of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan. He was born in Davenport and attended high school in Rock Island, Ill. Pittman moved in 2005 to Fort Riley, shortly after he first enlisted in the Army.

Some in the crowded sanctuary voiced their approval when Pastor Michael Kelly of First Assembly of God told how people sometimes confuse athletes for heroes.

“They’re not heroes, they’re celebrities,” he said. Kelly then pointed to Pittman’s casket, saying: “A man like this is a hero.”

Pittman’s wife, Jennefer, and his mother, Sandra Hughes, were handed three medals for the soldier: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

After the service, hundreds of government employees from the Rock Island Arsenal stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the curbs leading to the National Cemetery in Rock Island. Some saluted, many held their hands to their hearts and a few cried.

At the cemetery, the playing of Taps overwhelmed the widow, while Pittman’s brother grieved: “I would gladly trade places with you if you could come back. Dance, dance, dance, Michael, for you are free.”

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