On Aug 14, 2008 USMC Corporal
Anthony Mihalo was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device
while leading a foot patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
while serving a third tour of duty in the Middle East.
Six months earlier Mihalo
returned home after his second tour in Iraq and was expected to
stay stateside, but he later agreed to serve in Afghanistan
after the Marines asked for combat veterans to lead units there.
He earned three Purple Heart
Medals for combat related injuries in Iraq and another one in
Afghanistan just a month before he was killed, but returned them
all because none of them resulted in a life threatening wound,
and he didn't feel right about keeping them.
"Tony had a great love, great
pride and loyalty to his country and family," said Debbie Wolfe,
Mihalo's mother. "He joined the Marines after - and in part due
to - the events of Sept. 11, 2001." she added.
The Mayor of Naperville A. George
Pradel, who is a Marine veteran himself, said that Mihalo was a
"true Marine". They met when Tony arrived at Midway Airport
after his second tour of duty in Iraq. Mayor Pradel came home on
a different flight that day and when he learned about Mihalo's
Homecoming from Operation Welcome You Home - IL, he invited Tony
to ride back to Naperville in his limousine. WelcomeYouHome.org
had set up a Welcome Home Party as well as Police and Fire
escort for CPL Mihalo to the VFW post in Naperville.
Unfortunately, only six months
later Tony was taken away from us at the young age of 23 while
supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
He died a hero and he lived