Sometimes we all need a little reminder of what sacrifice means, this time Army Sergeant Dennis Weichel has done just that. This week in Afghanistan, Weichel, a 29-year-old father of three, jumped in front of a truck to save a little Afghan girl from getting run over. He died from his injuries.
The child was one of several who were collecting the casings, which can be sold and recycled in Afghanistan. Weichel and other soldiers in the convoy got out of their vehicles to shoo the kids from danger as the heavy trucks bore down. But the girl ran back onto the road as a MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, approached. Weichel swung the girl to safety but was run over and later died from his injuries at Jalalabad Medical Treatment Facility, according to a press release from the Rhode Island National Guard.
Weichel, who had been a member of the Rhode Island National Guard since 2001, had arrived in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. He was a member of C Company, 1st Battalion, 143 Infantry. Weichel was previously deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a member of 3/172 Det 2 Mountain Infantry.
Weichel, who lived in Providence and was engaged to be married, leaves his parents, fiancee and three young children. His body is scheduled to be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday. Weichel will be buried in Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter.
Thanks to men and women like Weichel, the little girl he saved not only has a future because if his heroic actions in this incidient, but because the Taliban is no longer in charge of the country. For now anyway.