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Army Pfc. Michael R. Jarrett

Died January 6, 2010 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of North Platte, Neb.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Illesheim, Germany; died Jan. 6 in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat-related incident.

Friends fondly remember ‘Potato’

The Associated Press

Michael R. Jarrett grew up in southern California but joined the Army in 2007 in North Platte, Neb., where he had traveled with best friend Andy Clark.

“He decided it was better than minimum wage in Nebraska,” Clark told the Ramona Sentinel of Ramona, Calif.

Jarrett’s mother, Brenda, said the longtime Boy Scout had a knack for getting others involved, whether he was camping, riding three-wheelers or digging for crabs at the beach. She called him Mike, but close friends used the default moniker he was once assigned while logging on to play a video game.

“For the next hour we all kept getting killed by ‘Potato,’ ” Clark said, according to the newspaper. “The guys kept saying, ‘Dude! Who’s Potato?’ ”

From then on, it was Jarrett.

The lanky, 20-year-old helicopter mechanic died Jan. 6 in Balad, Iraq, of injuries from a noncombat- incident. He was assigned to Illesheim, Germany.

“He always did what was asked of him,” automotive instructor Robert Grace of Ramona High School told the Sentinel, adding that Jarrett was one of the most courageous kids he knew.

Jarrett left the school but earned a diploma from the district’s adult school program in 2007.

He is also survived by his father and sister.

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