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Tacoma Marine killed in Afghanistan

TACOMA -- Family says one of the four Marines killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan was from Tacoma.


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Story Published: Jun 16, 2008 at 11:54 AM PDT
Story Updated: Jun 16, 2008 at 8:13 PM PDT
By KOMO Staff & News Services

The father of Sgt. Michael T. Washington says his son was returning from a mission when an improvised explosive device exploded near their Humvee on Saturday.

The Department of Defense has not yet released any information on Washington's death.

Washington was based at Twentynine Palms, Calif. He joined the Marines shortly after graduating from high school in 2005. The 20-year-old was a third-generation member of his family to join the Marines.

"When he was little, gosh about 7, one of our friends asked him 'do you want to be a Marine like your dad or a firefighter like your dad, or an artist like your mom?' And he was like 'um, well I don't want to be shot at, I'm not going in a burning building and artists don't make money. So I'm going to be a salesman,'" said the soldier's mother, Grace Washington.

But it was in the soldier's blood to be a Marine. "Little Michael," as the family called him, knew it was his best shot to help people.

"He said 'dad, I just believe that there are people out there who need to be defended, they can't defend themselves; there are people who need help and I want to help them,'" said his father, Michael Washington.

The killed soldier was awarded a commendation during his tour of duty in Iraq. Wanting to do more, the soldier volunteered for a second tour, this time in Afghanistan.

"I was very, very proud of him, and not just because he was my son, but he was a good person. He really was," said Grace amid tears.

"Certainly I can think of a lot of other things I'd rather him have done, but I'm just so proud of his service and the man that he is, the man that he was. And I just miss my son," said his father.