12 Mar 30 - US soldier dies saving Afghan girl
Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr., a Rhode Island Army National Guard infantryman mobilized with Company C, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, sits inside a Black Hawk helicopter prior to a mission earlier in his deployment in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Dennis Weichel, 29, of the Rhode Island National Guard died saving the life of a little girl in northeast Afghanistan, according to the Rhode Island National Guard.
According to the report, Weichel was in a convoy in Laghman Province last week when he noticed some children were in the path of the moving vehicles. Weichel and other soldiers got out to move them out of the way.
According to the press release, while most of the children scattered away, one girl went back to the road, as a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle continued moving toward her.
Weichel saw the massive truck moving toward the girl and grabbed her out of the way, the National Guard said. The girl survived, but Weichel died after the armored vehicle ran over him.
The National Guard said Weichel's remains will be returned to Rhode Island on Saturday, according to the NBC Providence affiliate. The Army said Weichel leaves three children, a fiancee and his parents.
The circumstances of Weichel's death speak to his character, Staff Sgt. Ronald Corbett, who deployed with Weichel to Iraq in 2005, said in a U.S. Army press release.
"He would have done it for anybody," said Corbett. "That was the way he was. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was that type of guy."
Weichel was posthumously promoted to sergeant, according to the press release.
Corbett said Weichel was considered a fun-loving guy, but he was also a professional.
"When I first heard, I kept expecting him to jump up and say, 'Oh, I got you guys,'" said Corbett. "The last few days have hit me hard."