13 January 2009

A Real Hero.... but gone....

From the Citizen Soldier side: There are a few times that the CI-Roller dude gets teared up a bit....this will be one of them....as I tell the rest of the Marysville flood story.
SFC Mike O, drove the Humvee from our armory to the armory in Marysville while I got to sleep.
When we arrived, it turned out that Mike was the highest ranking NCO, and had more knowledge of Army Engineering operations than any of the officers present. So, he was the guy to take charge of the mission. The mission was to repair the levees that had broken during the flood. If it rained again, which it would, and the levees were still broken, then the homes and town would flood again.
Mike got thing organized, and we had at least 15 of the old 5 ton dump trucks (still without heat). I was going to operate a truck and this time I had an assistant driver who could also drive.
We worked our asses off. We had a set up where we'd going to the local rock business and take a load of rocks and dump them on the levee. My truck was supposed to haul 5 tons, but I never took a load less than 7 tons. We did this in 2 shifts, 24 hours a day.
Mike was out on the levee for the first 3 or 4 days guiding each truck to dump it's load right were he wanted it. Even in the dark....the trucks had no back up lights, so Mike would guide them down the levee's with a flash light....running the 1/2 mile to the dump site.
He was like a man on crack! He was every where. The job got done, but without Mike, it might have taken a lot longer.
I will leave out the funny parts, like the old trucks I drove falling apart etc.
What ever happened to Mike? He retired from the Guard....then when 9/11 came, guess what he did? He re-joined the Engineers when he heard that they were going to Iraq. He couldn't let his old unit go to war without him. A lot of old timers retired, or a few hid and whined so they wouldn't get deployed. Not Mike. He went. This says he was ordered to Active Duty...nope, not correct. He volunteered, like I did, to go to Iraq.
Sergeant First Class Michael C. Ottolini, A Co 579th Engineer Battalion (OIF)
It is with deepest sympathy
that The California National Guard announces the death of Sergeant First Class Michael Ottolini, age 45, on 10 November 2004, died as a result of wounds received during an improvised explosive device (IED) attack while serving with his unit in Balad, Iraq. He is survived by his wife, and two children, and his father and mother.
SFC Ottolini joined the California Army National Guard on 17 December 1976 as a combat engineer in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 579th Engineer Battalion, Santa Rosa. He served with the 579th Engineer Battalion during his entire military career. SFC Ottolini was an exemplary soldier who epitomized professionalism, dedication, and devotion to family. His unit pride was evident to all, and he is remembered for bringing his entire family (immediate and extended) to Battalion social events. He was an extremely personable individual and was well liked by his fellow soldiers. SFC Ottolini was ordered to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 17 January 2004.
Mike was KIA about a month before I got to Iraq. My entire time there, I took extra time to locate those who set up IEDs. I'm happy to say, I had a few insurgentassholes captured or killed who were involved in such things.
Mike was a hero, I'm glad I got to know and work with him.

1 comment:

J said...

...this story made me cry. But it's ok, because hero's very much deserve to be remembered and cried over and have their stories told.

...and I'm glad you got some of those insurgentassholes.

Thank you for telling your stories, D.