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PFC Michael Christopher Mahr

541st Engineer Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade
US Army

PFC Mahr's Act of Heroism

Michael C. Mahr was a father, a husband, as son, and a brother, but he was more than this, he was a soldier who became a hero. He wasn't just a hero because he died for his country, but because he died helping to secure freedom for others. Michael was killed in Logar Province, Afghanistan, on March 22, 2011, as a result of an enemy ambush. Michael, who was a member of a team that cleared routes of IED's for those troops who followed them, was driving his truck, as his team was clearing the route. His truck was hit by an rpg and small arms fire. Michael did not have a chance. He died with Sgt Joshua Gire, who was the leader of the company. Michael is a hero in our eyes and in the eyes of his family, both close and extended, and will forever live in our hearts as the reason that we enjoy the Freedom that we share. He will be missed all the days of our lives.
James H. Albury,Jr.
Proud Father of PFC Michael C. Mahr

My Hero

He was a hero because he left the comfort of his family, and to safety of his country, and went to a foreign land, to fight for the freedom of those who were unable, or unwilling, to fight for their own freedom. He supported the cause of Freedom and democracy, with no thought to his own safety. He fought for these people, and for his friends, family and comrades.


This is the last picture that was taken of Michael and his son, Jadon, before he deployed to Germany, then Afghanistan. Jadon never saw his Daddy again. Michael's mother, Kimberly loves this picture because it shows a time in Michael's life when he was truly happy, sharing a bonding moment with his son.

Below is from a ceremony wherein Michael's name was enshrined on the Fallen Soldier's memorial in Crystal River, Florida. It is the words of another mother who lost a son in Iraq, Kerry Surber, the mother of Robert Surber, and who also happens to be an old classmate of mine from high school. She was asked to speak at the ceremony about Michael. She requested information from me about Michael and made comparisons to her own son and both our losses.

"Flags fluttering in the squally Saturday morning breeze hummed boisterously as Kerri Surber carefully placed a Superman figurine on the lectern.

Known for his dedication, strength and courage, Army Pfc. Michael C. Mahr — like Superman — is a superhero. He may not have been able to bend steel with his bare hands or run at staggering speeds. But he was an American soldier.

Michael enjoyed the activities young boys do growing up, like fishing and playing football. Then he grew into a young man who still took pleasure in his childhood interests, but discovered new pursuits like women, video games and the military.

I would like to read remarks written by Michael's stepfather, James Albury.

“Our soldiers are a special breed. Being a soldier is about duty, honor, selflessness, bravery, heart, compassion, about wanting to be a part of something greater than yourself. Michael gave his all even in the face of adversity. Even in his final moments, he did his duty, and he did it well.”

By giving the ultimate sacrifice, Mahr gave “all he had to give,” Surber said.

Therefore, he can leap tall buildings, and he is more powerful than any locomotive, she added.

“They are soldiers, American soldiers. They are our superheroes,”

Below is something that I wrote a few days after finding out about Michael's death, before we went to Dover to see them bring him back to the US.

"Michael Christopher Mahr was, is, and always will be my Son, and my Hero. But, he is not mine alone. Mike is not just an American Hero, he is America’s Hero. He gave his life in service to his country. He got up every morning and did not only his job, but his duty. Every morning he lived the oath he took, defending his country, his family, and his friends, and the Freedoms and Liberties that they enjoyed.
Michael knew that the job he chose in the Army was dangerous, but it didn’t matter. He knew that the decision that he made to join, was not just to support his country, but also to support his family. It was the right thing to do for him, and he loved it, and talked of staying in the Army long enough to retire. Every soldier goes into battle knowing that he may be the next to die, and hoping that he won’t be, and that he would make it home. But, like every soldier before him who has not made it home, Michael did not hesitate when he was called upon to take those chances, and possibly be that “One” who didn’t make it back to his family and friends.
Our Soldiers are a special breed. Some, including myself, have often said that it doesn’t take much brains to be a “bullet stopper”. But a being a soldier isn’t about “having brains”, or “being a bullet stopper”, it is about Duty, Honor, Selflessness, Bravery, Heart, Compassion, about wanting to be a part of something greater than yourself. Soldiers face the bullets that other men are afraid to face, for Freedom. Soldiers face the enemy that wants to destroy our way of life and impose their own, so that we can enjoy the Freedoms that we so enjoy. A Soldier does these things willingly, without hesitation, and with Hope.
Yes, Hope! Hope that the job they are doing will lead to a better life for those for whom they are doing it. Hope that they will not be the last man to die for a lost cause, but instead for a brighter future. Hope that the sacrifices they make, leaving home and loved ones, missing births of their children, missing birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, school plays, music recitals, boy and girl scout jamborees, and so much more, are not for naught, but for the greater good, for Freedom, not just here at home, but for all the people’s of this earth. Hope that what they do will one day stop the tyranny that so many endure, and bring about a peaceful world, one in which their children and grandchildren can live without fear, without trepidation, without worries about their tomorrows.
Our Soldier, Michael, just like all the other, believed all these things, but most of all he believed in the goodness of humankind. Believed that he was making a difference. And he was right, his sacrifice has made a difference, if not in Afghanistan, then at least here at home. His passing has brought together families, some members of which may not have spoken for years, for what turns out to be petty, stupid reasons. He has caused us to realize that life is too short to hold a grudge, and to always tell those we love how much we love them, everyday. He has caused us to reminisce, to laugh, to cry, to shout, to give thanks, and to Honor, not just the sacrifice Mike made, but each other.
Michael’s passing while in and of itself is not a good thing, it will have caused so much good because of it.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew, a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
This was Michael’s Season and this was Michael’s Time to go home to Jesus.
But this is also our Season and Time, it is our time to weep and mourn for Michael.
And soon, as the passing of days has slowly allowed some of the pain of Michael’s passing to lessen, it will be our Season and Time to laugh and dance, to celebrate Michael’s life.
It will be our Season and Time to embrace each other and to love each other, and we will find our Peace with Michael’s passing. And we will be able to speak his name, and tell his stories, and express our love for him, our anger at his passing, our joy in knowing that Michael is in Heaven, without tears flowing, and words breaking.
I am not saying that when you see something, or hear something, or even do something that reminds you of Michael that you will not find your words catching in your throat, or tears flowing down your cheeks, or that pain of missing Michael in your heart, but I am saying that it will be easier to deal with those moments.
And soon too, the hate will grow smaller for those who caused Michael’s death, because you will realize that the hate does not honor Michael’s memory, and it will only eat away at your soul, and stop you from living the best life that you could live, the life that Michael sacrificed his life for you to have. It will be replaced with the satisfaction of knowing that Michael gave his All, even in the face of adversity, even in his final moments, he did his duty, and he did it well.
Colonel Brett Wyrick, of the United States Air Force, on May 30, 2005, while describing his work as a surgeon in Balad, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, said it best in his missive “The Last Full Measure”:
“The first rule of war is that young men and women die. The second rule of war is that surgeons cannot change the first rule. I think the third rule of war should be that those who have given their all for our freedom are never forgotten, and they are always honored.”
Abraham Lincoln, said in his Gettysburg address, while standing upon the battlefield whereupon thousands upon thousands of soldiers, from both sides, had died just days earlier, while dedicating that field as a cemetery for all who died there in that great battle, when our country was immersed in perhaps it’s darkest hours of our Civil War:

"…that those who had given “the last full measure of devotion must not have died in vain.”

Lincoln’s vision was one of a new birth of Freedom, one that would shine as a bright light to the rest of the world.

America is still that bright and shining example of Freedom. Michael believed it, along with the thousands upon thousands of other American soldiers who have died for that cause before Michael, and who will die after Michael. There is a popular bumper sticker that says: All Gave Some, and Some Gave All. Michael has given his All, and now he can take his rest.
Michael Christopher Mahr has made the ultimate sacrifice. His duty is done - he has given the “Last Full Measure” and has not been found lacking, and now he is on his way home, not just to us, but to Jesus.
We must never forget Michael’s sacrifice, nor the sacrifices of any American soldier who has given his or her “Full Measure” for Freedom, whether it be for us, here in America, or for others in distant lands. But we also must not forget why they fought, and must dedicate ourselves as a nation to that cause, so that “Freedom may not perish from this Earth.”

Michael leaves his wife, Stephanie, and a wonderful son, Jadon, his Mother, Kim, myself, and three brothers, Matthew, who is his twin, Mark, and James, as well as three sisters, Melanie, Tiffanie, and Amber, his grandparents Davis and Vicki, and Norma, uncles and aunts, and a large extended family, as well as many, many friends, as evidenced by the showing hear today.

I am reminded of a song, by Heather Dale, from the movie Excalibur, wherein it is said that the “measure of a man stands or falls with what he leaves behind.” I would say the Measure of Michael Christopher Mahr is great, as attested by all the love he leaves behind.

Goodbye Michael. You leave this mortal coil a Hero, not just for what you did in death, but also for how you lived in life. Your life has bound together so many others, many of whom may never have touched without you here to make it so.

I Love You Son.
Your Dad


Today we suffered the loss of our son, Michael,
whom we all loved so dear,
and even as we grieve for him
in our our hearts He is still near.
Often times, in our grief,
we forget the life that Michael had,
and though his passing causes pain,
forgetting his life will hurt twice as bad.
In this life Michael touched so many
and made differences each and every day,
living his life to the fullest
even when his sky's were gray.
We experienced his wit and wisdom,
his compassion and his pain.
We saw when he was angry
and when he was happy once again.
Michael had his ups and downs in life,
because he, too, walked this mortal land,
but he accepted each triumph and tragedy as it came,
knowing that it was all part of God's plan.
But, in his trying times you'll find
He held his head high while standing tall,
Knowing that with his family's love
he could withstand it all.
He faced his final battle
with dignity and grace,
never did he falter
in spite of the tragedy that he faced.
Today Michael takes his final rest,
for his earthly trials are finally through.
Michael has gone now to sit beside Jesus,
where he'll be watching over you.
May we not forget while we are grieving,
that though Michael’s mortal life is done
His memory lives forever
in our hearts, each and every one.
We say, Thank you for the memories,
those with fondness we recall,
Also, for the example of strength ,
You showed throughout it all.
We will not say farewell to Michael
nor will we say goodbye.
For we are destined to meet again
in Jesus Kingdom in the sky.
So, we must go on living,
doing our best throughout each and every day.
following the examples set
by the loved one we lost today.

James H. Albury, Jr.


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