Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Shank

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Shank, 31 of Bonham, Texas

SSgt Shank was assigned to the 230th Military Police Company, 95th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, Kaiserslautern, Germany; died Nov. 28 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Logar, Afghanistan. Also killed was Spc. Jeffrey G. Roberson.

A Bonham family learned Tuesday afternoon that their son, husband and father, Staff Sgt. Michael Shank, 31, was killed that morning in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Shank reportedly died when his Humvee ran over a land mine planted on a mountain road by the enemy. He had been in Afghanistan about six months, his wife Brandy said Wednesday.

Brandy, Michael and their two daughters, KateLynn, 7, and Michaela, 4, had spent the past three years together while he was stationed in Germany. Brandy Shank and the girls returned home to the United States this past spring when her husband received orders to go to Afghanistan. He was expected to finish his tour of duty by the end February or beginning of March 2007. Then he would go back to Germany to process out.

“We don’t know what base he was going to come to,” his mother Lynn Colbert, also of Bonham, said Wednesday. “He was going to make the Army his career. He was an MP, military police.”

An officer from Fort Hood arrived in Bonham Tuesday to deliver the news to the family.

Staff Sgt. Shank graduated high school from Dodd City. His two daughters both attend Bonham schools, their mother said. “He was our hero,” she said Wednesday. "She was her daddy's junior," Colbert said of Michaela.

Colbert said the family is waiting for the Army to come to Bonham again and for “a liaison to walk us through all this.”

Staff Sgt. Shank always planned to be a soldier and always wanted to go into the military, his mother said. He first enlisted 10 years ago and re-enlisted in March of this year.

“It’s one of those things you never expect to happen. We’re just trying to get everything taken care of, everybody’s so confused about the situation,” Brandy Shank said. “There will be a casualty officer here in a few hours. I think he will help me do all the paperwork for the military.

“He went in when he was 20 and he had been in a year when we got married. He was making it a career and he was looking forward to putting in the paperwork to be a drill sergeant.”

Bonham ISD flags will fly at half-staff this week in honor of Staff Sgt. Shank, said Judy Lewis, Bonham school secretary.

Michaela is a pre-kindergarten student at Fannin County Head Start and KateLynn is a first-grade student at Finley-Oates Elementary School in Bonham.

Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Shank was killed in action on 11/28/06.

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