Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Michael Paul Bridges

Placentia, California

November 2, 2006

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
23 Army Pvt

1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

Fort Hood, Texas

 Died in Taji, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident.

 

Pvt. Michael P. Bridges of Placentia, California entered the Army in May 2003 and deployed to Iraq in December 2005. His mother's husband had gotten transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, and his dad was living in Marietta, Ga. Paul couldn't finish at Oxford High School as he'd hoped. He went to live with his dad in Marietta and then, a year later, when Bridges got a transfer to Huntsville with Boeing Co., the family moved to Madison. Paul enrolled at Bob Jones and soon made friends there. He adjusted to his new life, and he was happy. After graduation, he tried a semester at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, but as is the case with some students, he just wasn't ready for college. That's when he decided to join the Army. Even though the war in Iraq was raging, Paul wanted to join the Army. He couldn't have done what he did unless he really, really wanted to be a soldier. At 5-foot-11 and 296 pounds, he was too heavy to join the Army. Paul began walking to his job at Donatos Pizza. He started watching what he ate and he worked out. A year and a half later, the 2001 Bob Jones High School graduate had lost 119 pounds when he officially signed up to be a soldier. He wanted it that badly. His grandmother died in a car wreck. A few years later, his grandfather died of cancer. Not long after that, his Aunt Gwen died died of cancer. Paul was buried in the same cemetery outside Anniston as his grandparents and his aunt Gwen. His military awards and decorations include the Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Parachutist Badge, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, and the Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge, Expert M-16. He was 23.

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