- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Marine Lance Cpl. Michael A. Downey
Died November 19, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
21, of Phoenix; assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii; died Nov. 19 at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., of wounds sustained Nov. 11 from enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.
Arizona Marine succumbs to wound
By Brent Whiting
The Arizona Republic
Michael A. Downey, a Marine from Phoenix, died Nov. 19 at a Maryland hospital, nine days after being hit by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq.
His parents, Lauren Eiler and William J. Downey, and other loved ones, including a grandmother, were at his bedside at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.
“My son was the bravest, strongest person I’ve ever known,” Eiler said when the family was reached by phone.
The mother added, “Michael had a keen intelligent mind and a wicked sense of humor, and he loved being a Marine. He was proud of protecting our freedoms and way of life.”
Michael Downey, 21, and two close friends, Gregory Kennedy and Jasper Yuan, joined the Marines shortly after they graduated from Thunderbird High School in north Phoenix in May 2002.
Kennedy, 20, as well as Phoenix resident Glenda Stewart, a longtime Downey family friend, also were at the Marine’s bedside.
Stewart said, “He was coherent for a while and even joking with his loved ones, but things then took a turn for the worse.”
Marine officials have related that Downey, a lance corporal and combat engineer with the 3rd Marine Division, was wounded Nov. 10 during the U.S. offensive in Fallujah, Stewart said.
He was destroying captured insurgent weapons when he was shot by a sniper, Stewart said. The bullet passed through his spine, she said.
Downey was airlifted to Maryland by way of Kuwait and Germany, she added.
Marine officials could not be reached Friday for comment on Downey’s death.
In the meantime, Phoenix attorney Mark Kennedy said that his son, Gregory, and Yuan had been close friends with Downey since childhood and had attended the same Marine Corps boot camp near San Diego.
“Michael was a bright, respectful teen who would make any parent proud,” Mark Kennedy said. “The world may not know it, but it is a poorer place to live with him now gone.”
Kennedy said he grieves for Downey, but worries about his son, who is being trained by the Marines for urban warfare.
He said Yuan, 20, the third member of the childhood trio, has been fighting with the Marines in the Fallujah offensive.
Downey is among at least 39 Arizona military members who have died during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hawaii-based Marine dies of Iraq wounds
KANEOHE, Hawaii — A Hawaii-based Marine died in a Maryland hospital nine days after being wounded by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq’s Anbar province, the Pentagon said Monday.
Lance Cpl. Michael A. Downey, 21, of Phoenix, died Friday at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., one of three Marines to die in U.S. hospitals after being wounded in action during the Fallujah offensive.
Downey was a combat engineer with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe.
Downey was wounded Nov. 11 in Fallujah.
He was destroying captured insurgent weapons when he was shot by a sniper and the bullet passed through his spine, The Arizona Republic reported.
Downey was airlifted to Maryland by way of Kuwait and Germany.
His parents and other family members and friends were at his bedside when he died.
“My son was the bravest, strongest person I’ve ever known,” said Downey’s mother, Lauren Eiler. “He loved being a Marine. He was proud of protecting our freedoms and way of life.”
Downey is the 13th Hawaii-based Marine and the 33rd Hawaii-based serviceman to die since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began in March 2003.
Downey joined the Marine Corps shortly after graduating from Phoenix’s Thunderbird High School in May 2002.
— Associated Press