Saturday, June 14, 2008

Marine Sgt. Michael Toussiant-Hyle Washington

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Michael Toussiant-Hyle Washington, 20, of Tacoma, Wash.

Sgt. Washington was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 14, 2008 in Farah province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed were Lance Cpl. Layton Bradly Crass, Pfc. Dawid Pietrek and Pfc. Michael Robert Patton.

Seattle Post Intelligencer -- As a kid about 10 years ago, Michael Washington was something of a fixture at Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood firehouse, where he sometimes accompanied his firefighter dad.

The men and women who worked there recall a fun kid mature beyond his years, who looked you straight in the eye while his legs dangled from the end of a recliner. Eventually he grew to tower over his dad, after whom he was named and whom he admired.

The elder Michael Washington joined the Seattle Fire Department in 1994 and served 23 years in the Marine Corps and reserves, including tours in Desert Storm in 1991, Bosnia, and two tours in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2003 before retiring as a master sergeant in 2004. His own father had served in the Marines in Korea.

So, after graduating from Stadium High School in Tacoma three years ago, the younger Michael Washington at 17 became the third generation from his family to serve in the Corps.

In Iraq a year ago, the younger Washington earned citations for bravery, providing cover as fellow Marines extricated themselves from a deadly field of fire.

In April, he went overseas again, this time in Afghanistan as a sergeant with his unit, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. The unit was assigned to train and help struggling Afghan national police units in southwestern Afghanistan.

On Saturday, Washington, 20, was one of four Marines riding in a Humvee who were killed by a homemade bomb hidden in a roadway near Farah Province in Afghanistan. It was the worst single attack on coalition forces in Afghanistan this year.

Washington is the first Marine with ties to Washington state among the 23 locally connected members of the armed forces who have died in Afghanistan since the war there nearly seven years ago, a month after 9/11.

Washington's dad said he was pulling duty Sunday morning at Fire Station 16 at Green Lake when Marine casualty notification officers tracked him down and broke the news.

"You think about that but you can never prepare for that," Michael Washington said Monday as he sat in his garage near North Shore Golf Course in Tacoma, where his son once played and worked. "This loss is obviously personal and my family is grieving, but I want the city and the country to know we lost somebody pretty special," he said. "My son was just a good guy -- a kid who would cut elderly people's yards when they were sick and couldn't cut it themselves."

Washington is survived by his father, now working mainly in Georgetown's station 27; his mother, Grace, an artist; and a sister, Aja Collins, a former Army linguist who now lives in South Korea where her husband, also an Army linguist, serves.

Since receiving the news, Washington said his family has been embraced by an overwhelming response.

"It is amazing how many people care. I just want to say thank you, from Michael and Grace, to all the brothers and sisters in the Seattle Fire Department and all the citizens. Michael touched a lot of lives," he said.

Marine Sgt. Michael Toussiant-Hyle Washington was killed in action on 6/14/08.

1 comment:

Terri Patton said...

Michael, Grace and Aja;

May God give you peace and love during this Holiday Season. Know that we are praying and thinking of you. May God hold our children close to his heart.

God Bless,
Terri Patton
Remebering PFC Michael Robert Patton, KIA 06/14/08