Michael L. McNulty – Master Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 629-05
June 21, 2005

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died on June 17, 2005, in Al Qaim, Iraq, while conducting combat operations. Both soldiers were assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Killed were:

Master Sergeant Robert M. Horrigan, 40, of Austin, Texas.
Master Sergeant Michael L. McNulty, 36, of Knoxville, Tennessee

23 June 2005:

Two soldiers with East Tennessee ties have been killed in Iraq.

Thirty-six year old Master Sergeant Michael McNulty of Knoxville died Friday when his unit was attacked in western Iraq.

He was a member of a special operations unit based out of Fort Bragg.

In a statement, McNulty's family says, “Michael was a loving husband, a dedicated and proud father of four, and a caring son. He was also as soldier who unwaveringly placed our country before himself.”

No funeral arrangements have yet been announced.

Corporal William Long also died in Iraq Friday when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee.

Long belonged to the 3rd Infantry Division and made his home in Georgia, although he spent time in Knoxville growing up. Corporal Long's mother still lives here and requested privacy during this difficult time.

Long will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. At one time, he was a member of the Honor Guard at Arlington, presiding over more than 700 burials there.

But in a gesture that tells you a lot about the man, Long freely gave up that position to help the Iraqi people.

“On one hand as a father you don't want your son to get hurt,” said Cpl. Long's Step Father Lee Cordner. “On the other hand you're proud he's taking initiative. If it wasn't for people like him we wouldn't be who we are.”

Cordner found out about his step son's death Saturday, and says he went blank when hearing the words from military personnel who visited his Georgia home.

“I'm very proud of my son, and he's a hero,” said Cordner. “Not many people have chance to be hero. It's just too bad you have to be a hero at 26 and not 70.”

Cordner's home is now a memorial, with his step son's military honors all across the house. It is a tribute to a man who knew about the sacrifices of combat but willingly went into the military to help his country.

“I'm just so proud of him, and wish I could have spent more time with him,” said Cordner.

By Jeffrey Gaunt
Courtesy of the Daily Herald
23 June 2005

Master Sgt. Michael McNulty was at his most compassionate in moments like these.

When tragedy struck, he was the family's rock. The one who could wipe away their tears, recalled McNulty's sister-in-law, Amy Lessing.

“If you were feeling down, he'd pull you off to the side,” Lessing said. “He was always there for you.”

But now the family will have to go it alone.


The former Larkin High School student was killed Friday during combat operations in western Iraq, the Department of Defense said this week.

McNulty was 36.

“He was just a great person,” Lessing said. “An all-American. This is too young for him. This is way too young.”

McNulty was living with his wife, Paula, and four children in Southern Pines, North Carolina, about 120 miles from Gastonia, where he was born.

One of nine kids, he graduated from Larkin in 1986 with his twin brother, Sean – who also serves in the military.

While at Larkin, McNulty played soccer, ran track and cross country and played in the band. He was also in the Latin and German clubs.

Shortly after graduation, McNulty married Paula, his high school sweetheart who attended Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, and enlisted in the Army.

From there, he was transferred from Washington and Kentucky, to Hawaii, Germany, and finally the Army Special Operations Command headquarters at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

While he was in Iraq, his family – and in particular his wife – were a constant, Lessing said.

“It was like a honeymoon every time he came home,” she said. “They were so attached to one another.”

Upon his death, McNulty was posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant. He was awarded more than 20 medals in his career, including three Bronze Stars, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Purple Heart.

He will be buried Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Lessing said, after a wake and funeral service this weekend in Southern Pines.



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