Michael Curtis Carlson – Sergeant, United States Army

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NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 103-05
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan 31, 2005

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of five soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The soldiers died January 24, 2005, in Mohammed Sacran, Iraq, when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle overturned.  They were assigned to the 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany.

Dead are:

  • Staff Sergeant Joseph W. Stevens, 26, of Sacramento, California
  • Sergeant Michael C. Carlson, 22, of St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Sergeant Javier Marin Jr., 29, of Mission, Texas
  • Specialist Viktar V. Yolkin, 24, of Spring Branch, Texas
  • Private First Class Jesus A. Leon-Perez, 20, of Houston, Texas

This incident is under investigation.


Posted on Sun, February 06, 2005

Soldier, 22, ‘lived the life he sought'
St. Paulite's life ended fulfilling a childhood dream

BY BILL SALISBURY
Courtesy of the Pioneer Press

Hundreds of friends, family members, schoolmates and fellow soldiers packed into Arlington Hills Lutheran Church on the East Side on Saturday morning to pay their final respects to Army Sergeant Michael Carlson, the first soldier from St. Paul to be killed in the war in Iraq.

Carlson, 22, who died with four other soldiers January 24, 2005, when their Bradley ighting Vehicle rolled over into a canal in the town of Mohammed Sacran, Iraq, was remembered as a strong, passionate, fun-loving young man whose life ended as he was fulfilling a childhood dream.

In a eulogy for his younger brother, Daniel Carlson said Michael wanted to be “part of something greater than himself.” He read a paper that his brother wrote while attending Cretin-Derham Hall High School in which he dreamed of becoming a “soldier liberating people from oppression.”

“He lived the life that he sought,” Daniel Carlson said.

The church was filled to capacity as an Army honor guard wheeled the slain soldier's coffin down the center aisle. Many members of the congregation wept as the coffin rolled by. Others saluted.

At Cretin-Derham Hall, Carlson earned the nickname “Shrek” as a big, affable defensive tackle on the school's football team, recalled his coach, Richard Kallok. He played on the Roman Catholic school's 1999 state championship team and also was a heavyweight wrestler.

Kallok ticked off a list of traits that distinguished Carlson. “He had a desire to give the best all the time,” whether it was on the wrestling mat, the football field or in art class making clay pots and covering himself with dirt from head to toe.

Brimming with enthusiasm, Carlson “always jumped in with both feet,” Kallok said.

He was a courageous and disciplined football player who practiced hard, bounced back from mistakes and showed confidence in adversity, the coach said.

“Mike did what was right, no matter what the cost. He truly walked the walk,” he said.

Carlson won an Army Commendation Medal for valor for ripping open a metal door on a suspected insurgents' house in Iraq so his comrades could pursue a sniper. But he didn't tell his family about the honor. That demonstrated his humility and integrity, Kallok said.

Carlson's former commander, Major Thomas Johnson, said he was a dedicated man who excelled at his skills, took care of his comrades, believed in their cause and was one of the best soldiers he ever commanded. “He's a true hero,” Johnson said.

The Army recognized his heroism by awarding him a Bronze Star Medal posthumously.

To honor Carlson, Governor Tim Pawlenty ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on state buildings Saturday.

Among those in attendance at the service were St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum. In addition to church members, many Cretin-Derham Hall faculty and students and soldiers in uniform attended. Members of the school's Reserve Officer Training Corps served as ushers.

The church hand-bell choir, in which Carlson once performed, saluted him with a hymn.

Carlson was born February 14, 1982, in Spooner, Wisconsin. He grew up on St. Paul's East Side, where he participated in Boy Scouts and youth sports.

After graduating from Cretin-Derham Hall in 2000, he attended Concordia University for one year at his parents' request before enlisting in the Army.

An infantryman, he served in Vilseck, Germany, and Kosovo before his unit was deployed to Iraq in February of last year. He was scheduled to leave Iraq this month.

In addition to Carlson's brother, his parents, Daniel and Merrilee Carlson, grandfather Harry Carlson and fiancée Crystal Beck survive him.

Carlson will be buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.


Posted on Sun, Dec. 18, 2005

Like son, mother makes difference

By JOE SOUCHERAY

The Carlsons, Daniel and Merrilee and two sons, Daniel and Michael, moved from the East Side of St. Paul to Hastings in the summer of 2004. Michael was not available to haul furniture or put the washing machine on his back — which he might have been capable of — as he was at the time Sergeant Michael Carlson of the United States Army, serving in Iraq and loving it, the task, the people, the mission.

Carlson, 22, was among four soldiers who died when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over in a canal in the town of Mohammed Sacran. That was January 24 of thisyear. He had three weeks left in the country. Carlson became the first soldier from St. Paul to die in the war in Iraq.

During the move from St. Paul to Hastings, there being no Michael around to help, his older brother scooped up the stuff in Michael's room, including school papers, among them a credo written during Michael's senior year at Cretin-Derham Hall. The three-page paper was posted by the Wall Street Journal on Memorial Day. It is worth looking for.

In part, the paper read: “I sometimes dream of being a soldier in a war. In this war, I'm helping to liberate people from oppression.”

That was written in the spring of 2000. That was written before September 11, 2001; Carlson was at his final inspection at boot camp on September 11, 2001.

Where did that come from?

“We don't know,” Merrilee Carlson said the other day. “This young man truly loved his country.”

But in high school he was not even in ROTC, which his school offers. He was a football player, a good one, a good student, a hale fellow well met. He was called “Shrek,” for his size and his affability. He was remembered well by his teachers and coaches and buddies.

But where did that come from, that abiding call to serve?

“Plus,” Merrilee said, “he loved being a grunt. He was uncomfortable being a leader. I think it unnerved him when he became a Sergeant.”

Merrilee Carlson was at her job with National Oilwell Varco, where she is the engineering administrative services supervisor. National Oilwell Varco has a laying on of hands all the way back to American Hoist & Derrick.

“We design off-shore oil rigs and cranes,” Merrilee said.

This woman, this mother of the first soldier from St. Paul killed in Iraq, has not been getting quite the media attention that has been given to, say, Cindy Sheehan, whose theatrical gullibility has been taken advantage of by an obsequious gang of cable television newshounds.

“Cindy Sheehan has driven me to be vocal,” Carlson said. “We can't leave this work undone in Iraq. We can all argue about how we might have gotten there. But we're there and we need to see it through. Michael died while en route to take out what they had been told was a bomb-making facility. This was during Iraq's first attempt at the election. He would have been entirely thrilled to see 80 percent of the eligible voters turn out to vote in the election this week.”

If not Cindy Sheehan specifically, it has been pessimism in general that has compelled Merrilee Carlson to speak highly and cheerfully of her son. After all, he was her son. It is not conceivable to her that there are mothers of dead soldiers who would want the United States to cut and run.

“I suppose we could have taken the beaches at Normandy,” Merrilee said, “and then decided it was too expensive or too difficult to keep going. I wonder what the world would look like today.”

As a Gold Star mother, the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, Merrilee has joined Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. They have a Web site, www.unitedforourtroops.com.

The other night she showed up on talk radio. She will take care to see that Gold Star families interact with Blue Star families, those with soldiers active in Iraq.

“I cannot let the value of these great young people get discredited,” Merrilee said. “These are just great American kids who believe they are serving their country in the best possible way.”

Michael Carlson was buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, a long way from Spooner, Wisconsin, where he was born, and the East Side, where he grew up.

“Michael always wanted to go to Washington,” Merrilee said. “In his last letter to his fiancée he told her that they would go to Washington. He got there. He got there the hard way, but that's where he wanted to be.”


Sunday, December 18, 2005:

The Carlsons, Daniel and Merrilee and two sons, Daniel and Michael, moved from the East Side of St. Paul to Hastings in the summer of 2004. Michael was not available to haul furniture or put the washing machine on his back — which he might have been capable of — as he was at the time Sergeant Michael Carlson of the United States Army, serving in Iraq and loving it, the task, the people, the mission.

Carlson, 22, was among four soldiers who died when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over in a canal in the town of Mohammed Sacran. That was January 24 of this year. He had three weeks left in the country. Carlson became the first soldier from St. Paul to die in the war in Iraq.

During the move from St. Paul to Hastings, there being no Michael around to help, his older brother scooped up the stuff in Michael's room, including school papers, among them a credo written during Michael's senior year at Cretin-Derham Hall. The three-page paper was posted by the Wall Street Journal on Memorial Day. It is worth looking for.

In part, the paper read: “I sometimes dream of being a soldier in a war. In this war, I'm helping to liberate people from oppression.”

That was written in the spring of 2000. That was written before September 11, 2001; Carlson was at his final inspection t boot camp on Sept. 11, 2001.

Where did that come from?

“We don't know,” Merrilee Carlson said the other day. “This young man truly loved his country.”

But in high school he was not even in ROTC, which his school offers. He was a football player, a good one, a good student, a hale fellow well met. He was called “Shrek,” for his size and his affability. He was remembered well by his teachers and coaches and buddies.

But where did that come from, that abiding call to serve?

“Plus,” Merrilee said, “he loved being a grunt. He was uncomfortable being a leader. I think it unnerved him when he became a Sergeant.”

Merrilee Carlson was at her job with National Oilwell Varco, where she is the engineering administrative services supervisor. National Oilwell Varco has a laying on of hands all the way back to American Hoist & Derrick.
“We design off-shore oil rigs and cranes,” Merrilee said.

This woman, this mother of the first soldier from St. Paul killed in Iraq, has not been getting quite the media attention that has been given to, say, Cindy Sheehan, whose theatrical gullibility has been taken advantage of by an obsequious gang of cable television newshounds.

“Cindy Sheehan has driven me to be vocal,” Carlson said. “We can't leave this work undone in Iraq. We can all argue about how we might have gotten there. But we're there and we need to see it through. Michael died while en route to take out what they had been told was a bomb-making facility. This was during Iraq's first attempt at the election. He would have been entirely thrilled to see 80 percent of the eligible voters turn out to vote in the election this week.”
If not Cindy Sheehan specifically, it has been pessimism in general that has compelled Merrilee Carlson to speak highly and cheerfully of her son. After all, he was her son. It is not conceivable to her that there are mothers of dead soldiers who would want the United States to cut and run.

“I suppose we could have taken the beaches at Normandy,” Merrilee said, “and then decided it was too expensive or too difficult to keep going. I wonder what the world would look like today.”

As a Gold Star mother, the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, Merrilee has joined Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. They have a Web site, www.unitedforourtroops.com.

The other night she showed up on talk radio. She will take care to see that Gold Star families interact with Blue Star families, those with soldiers active in Iraq.

“I cannot let the value of these great young people get discredited,” Merrilee said. “These are just great American kids who believe they are serving their country in the best possible way.”

Michael Carlson was buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, a long way from Spooner, Wisconsin, where he was born, and the East Side, where he grew up.

“Michael always wanted to go to Washington,” Merrilee said. “In his last letter to his fiancée he told her that they would go to Washington. He got there. He got there the hard way, but that's where he wanted to be.”

mccarlson-family-photo-01

yolkin-and-carlson
Michael died with 4 other men, one of which Viktar Yolkin is originally from Belarus Russia. Viktar is buried in Germany. He loved the United States and served with pride and honor. Mike on the right and Viktar on the left. This is the one time Mike gave up his gun Christine – so Viktar could hold it.

mccarlson-family-photo-02

CARLSON, MICHAEL CURTIS

  • SGT   US ARMY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 02/14/1982
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/24/2005
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 8096
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

mccarlson-gravesite-photo-082005 mccarlson-valentines-day-2006 mccarlson-valentine-day-snow-photo-01 mccarlson-valentine-day-snow-photo-02

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