Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank, 25, of Cameron Mills, N.Y.

LCpl. Plank was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 9, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank, 25, who was born in Corning and lived in nearby Rathbone, was killed Wednesday, "while supporting combat operations" in Afghanistan's Helmand province, the Department of Defense reported.

Military and DOD sources did not release any details of his death or the operation because the incident is still under investigation.

But Lance Cpl. Plank's brother, Jerry Plank of Elkland, said Friday that the family was told the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Lance Cpl. Plank, a combat engineer, was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Second Lt. Rebecca Burgess, a public affairs officer with the 1st Marine Logistics Group, said he entered the Marine Corps on Feb. 23, 2009, and was sent to Afghanistan in late March this year for his first overseas assignment.

Lance Cpl. Zachary Smith, a 19-year-old Marine from Hornell, was Steuben County's first war casualty this year. He was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Jan. 24.

Lance Cpl. Plank grew up in Cameron Mills and Rathbone and attended Addison schools before he transferred in August 2003 to Elkland High School for his senior year.

His mother, Kathleen Parker, still lives in Cameron Mills, Jerry Plank said. He said their father, Gerald Plank, lives in Lawrenceville.

Lance Cpl. Plank and his brothers -- Jerry, 23, and Dominic, 24, of Westfield, were close, Jerry Plank said. He said all three loved to hunt and fish.

"We were a smaller family, ...," Jerry Plank said, "and we were just a year apart, too, each of us."

He said Lance Cpl. Plank will be buried in Rathbone, but plans were incomplete as of Friday evening.

"There's a small cemetery a few hundred yards from where he lived," Jerry said.

"He told me he loved it there, in Rathbone. He was always hunting and fishing and stuff. He loved the spring water there."

He said Lance Cpl. Plank, who was single, hoped to buy land and build a home there some day.

Jerry Plank said his brother was proud to serve.

"He didn't want to go (to Afghanistan), but he was pretty good at what he did and he was confident," he said. "He was dedicated to the core to the Marine Corps."

Jerry Plank said he and other relatives sent Lance Cpl. Plank letters and packages but hadn't heard from him since he went to war.

"Nobody I talked to received any letters from him, but we've been sending him stuff," he said.

"He would write when he was in training, but he must have been real busy. It must have been chaotic over there."

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank was killed in action on 6/9/10.

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