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Army Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell

Died April 4, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

25, of Porterville, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany; killed April 4 when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire in Baghdad.

Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell found love when the Army stationed him in Germany, and he planned to bring his German fiancee home after his stint as a tank mechanic ended. Instead, Bianca Liebl had to make plans to go to Porterville, Calif., on her own. Mitchell, 25, was one of eight soldiers killed in a firefight April 4 in Baghdad. In high school, Mitchell ran cross-country and wrestled. A coach, Rich Lambie, called Mitchell "a scrappy, tenacious competitor." Months after graduation, Mitchell enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in Germany, just as his father, Bill Mitchell, had been during the Vietnam War. An older sister, Christine Jayroe, remembered Mitchell as "my little playmate." "I used to drag him and play in the dirt," Jayroe said.

— Associated Press

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