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Tacoma Marine among four killed in Afghan blast

A Tacoma Marine was among four Americans killed Saturday in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan, his family said Sunday. Sgt. Michael T. Washington, 20, was returning from a mission when an IED exploded near their Humvee, said his father, who is also named Michael. The Department of Defense had not yet issued a news statement about the incident.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/breaking/story/390013.html

Iam Demsky; ian.demsky@thenewstribune.com
Published: June 15th, 2008 08:31 PM

“He was a good man, a fine Marine and the best son,” Michael Washington said. “I think we just lost a real fine young man – not just my family, but as a country.”

The younger Washington was originally from Southern California, but moved to Tacoma at a young age. He graduated from Stadium High School in 2005 and went into the Marines that fall.

Michael T. Washington was a third-generation Marine, following in his father’s and his grandfather’s footsteps. His sister, Aja Collins, was in the Army. She lives in Korea with her active-duty husband.

“It runs through our family,” the elder Michael Washington said. “It’s what we do.”

Washington was a member G Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif. He deployed to Afghanistan in April, his father said. Last year he also served in Iraq, where he was awarded a medal for his bravery during an ambush.

“I want people to know he joined the Marines, in his words, ‘To help people who cannot help themselves,’ ” he said. “To help defend people who are defenseless.”

“He figured that being at the pointed end of the spear is where you can effect the most change.”

Washington grew up playing soccer in for several Tacoma clubs. He was in ROTC at Stadium and was interested in history and political science.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed, his father said.

“He just believed in trying his best to do the right thing,” Michael Washington said of his son. ”He had the will to work hard and put himself out there for other people.

“He believed in standing up for his country, more to the point for his Marines. He’d do anything for the Marines that he served with.”