Sunday, December 25, 2005

Army Specialist Anthony O. Cardinal

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Anthony O. Cardinal, 20, of Muskegon, Mich.

Spc Cardinal was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; killed Dec. 25 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Baghdad.

Associated Press

As his time in Iraq ticked down, Army Spc. Tony Cardinal was worried, his wife, Amber, said.

The Michigan-reared soldier was due to leave Iraq on Jan. 5, but was anxious as the date neared.

"He mentioned to me that he's more afraid of dying now than ever, because he was so close to coming home," she said.

While his death had not been officially announced by the Pentagon, Amber Cardinal said two soldiers came to her door in Fort Stewart, Ga., on Christmas and told her he had died earlier in the day. She had no further details.

Spc. Cardinal, 20, graduated in 2003 from Oakridge High School in Muskegon; his wife graduated from Oakridge the following year.

Amber Cardinal said she last heard from him on Christmas Eve, when he wrote that he had two missions that day.

Spc. Cardinal had spent nearly a year in Iraq and was to spend the rest of his enlistment in Georgia.

"Amber and the kids meant the world to him," Cardinal's mother, Maria, said. "He always put them first. He was a wonderful husband and a good father."

Amber Cardinal had recently moved to Fort Stewart with their two children, 19-month-old Mikel and 2-month-old Maylee. Her family remains in Michigan.

"I'm coming home as soon as possible. It's too hard being here now," she said.

Spc. Cardinal joined the Army shortly before the arrival of the couple's first baby because jobs were scarce in the Muskegon area, his wife said. He was in Iraq when the couple's daughter was born in October. He only saw her via the Web.

Amber Cardinal said her husband came to love the military and wanted to make a career out of it.

"He was really dedicated to his job," she said. "He said they were getting things done over there."

Army Specialist Anthony O. Cardinal was killed in action on 12/25/05.

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