Sgt Michael Roy
Died: July 8, 2009

Michael C. Roy had a calling, one that was evident as a boy growing up in Southwest Florida.

"He knew he wanted to be in the military since a very early age," said his father, Michael Roy, of Punta Gorda. "His older brother was in the Gulf War, in the Army."

The younger Roy, 25, joined the Marines on Sept. 25, 2001, but vowed to be a military man long before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, his dad said.

Sgt. Roy died Wednesday after being shot in the right cheek during a mission in the Nimroz province of Afghanistan. He was assigned to the third marine special operations battalion, a unit that was set for a return next week to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Roy and his wife, Amy, have three children, including a newborn.

"He got to come home for a week and see his baby boy," the elder Roy said
about a military-granted release last month.

Sgt. Roy was a Lee County high school graduate, and served two tours of duty in Iraq before a third deployment to the Middle East. Initially trained as a rifleman, Roy was promoted to sergeant in October 2005. His decorations include a Navy Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Navy Unit Commendation, three Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Humanitarian Service Medal, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and a NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.

"You couldn't ask for a better leader as your sergeant," said Corporal John Wood, 23, a Marine stationed in Parris Island, S.C, who served under Roy for both Iraq tours. "You couldn't ask for a better person. If there was anything you needed, he would take care of you.

"It was a privilege to serve with him because of his dedication and the way he treated his Marines. It didn't matter that he was the same age as us - he was our leader."

(Roy's body will be flown back to America on Saturday. Funeral arrangements are pending.

MEDIA ADVISORY: MARSOC IDENTIFIES MARINE CASUALTY

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE N.C. (July 9, 2009) Sergeant Michael C. Roy, 25, of North Fort Myers, Florida, died July 8, 2009 while conducting combat operations in Nimroz province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to 3d Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Roy joined the Marine Corps on Sept. 25, 2001 and was trained as a rifleman. He was promoted to Sergeant on Oct. 10, 2005, joining MARSOC on March 15, 2008. His decorations include a Navy Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Navy Unit Commendation, three Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, two Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Humanitarian Service Medal, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and a NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.

A military press release announcing a death in combat is a stark missive.

Name. Rank. Age. Hometown. Where. The few standard words on how - in combat, from small arms fire, in a rocket attack, or the much-too prevalent "of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device."

Between the sparse, few sentences, though, there also can be found a glimpse of a life that is more than a statistic, more than a casualty of war.

The statement released for Sgt. Michael C. Roy, who died in Afghanistan Wednesday, gives us that small look.

With nearly eight years in, 25-year-old Sgt. Roy joined the Marines young - real young. His decorations and his rise through the ranks tell us he served his country competently and well. His joining the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command last year tells us he had no fear - or that fear didn't matter.

To become a MARSOC member, Sgt. Roy had to undertake and complete special forces training designed to "enable him to function in remote, ambiguous and complex environments with limited support," according to the special unit's Web site, which also outlines core duties that may be assigned. Those duties include training and assistance to foreign governments, security force assistance, special reconnaissance,

counterterrorism and direct action, which the Corps defines as "short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions taken to seize, destroy, capture, recover or inflict damage in denied areas."

Sgt. Roy died in Nimroz province in southwestern Afghanistan. Nimroz is an area of intense unrest where, in April, suicide bombers tried to kill an Afghan minister and killed three others instead.

Fighting has been heavy there since last year and, according the news reports, the Marines have been in it helmet high.

Sgt. Roy's career may have been cut short but the announcement of his death tells us that career had merit and moments of valor.

We thank Sgt. Roy for his service and his sacrifice. Our condolences to his family on their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with both.

- Breeze Newspapers editorial

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