35 years old from Saginaw, Michigan
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
May 5, 2007
Master Sgt. Michael Wert, an intelligence chief for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point in Havelock, N.C., was vacationing on an early May weekend with his family at the beach when he saw two boys struggling in the surf.
His wife, Debbie, said her husband rushed into the water to help while she went to call 911. Their daughter, Katrina, grabbed a boogie board and followed Wert into the water. She managed to help the boys onto the board, but didn't see her dad with them. One of the boys told her that he (Wert) had to let them go and had died.
The rescue team found Wert, brought him to shore and tried to revive him. As they worked, strangers prayed with the family and comforted the Wert children.
Wert was six days shy of celebrating his 36th birthday.
Wert joined the Marines in 1989 after graduating from Alma High School, in Saginaw, MI, where he was a cross-country runner. He served in Operation Desert Storm and supported Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing intelligence chief, he gracefully accepted the role as the go-to guy for his Marines. He was the one who helped his major’s son build a pinewood derby car while the officer was deployed. He knew when babies were born in the command. He kept up with birthdays and anniversaries. He was the first to greet Marines getting off the plane after a tour in Iraq. "He was always there to help," Lt. Col. William Conley, commander of Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 said at a memorial service for Wert. "Master Sergeant Wert responded to the need for help. As always, he didn’t hesitate — he went to help. He tragically lost his own life in doing so."
"I admired him for his commitment to service and the Marine Corps," said Col. Kathy Tate. "We know he was a hero every day."
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
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