Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL)
Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Koch
Michael E. Koch
February 04, 2008 ( born May12, 1978 )
29 years,of State College, PA: assigned to East Coast-based SEAL team; ; died Feb. 4, from wounds sustained from small arms fire during combat operations in Balad, Iraq. Also killed was Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Nathan H. Hardy.
Navy SEAL from State College dies in Iraq
NORFOLK, Va. A Navy SEAL from State College, Pa., has been killed in action in Iraq.
Michael Koch and fellow SEAL Nathan Hardy, from Durham, N.H., died Feb. 4 after being wounded by small-arms fire, the Defense Department said. Both men were stationed in Norfolk, Va.
“There are only approximately 2,500 SEALs in the Navy and they really are a brotherhood,” said Naval Special Warfare spokesman Lt. David Luckett. “This is another unfortunate reminder of the risks and sacrifices these amazing warriors and their families make on a daily basis.”
Koch leaves behind his parents and a fiancee. He enlisted in July 1998 and entered SEAL training in January 1999, according to The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. He received the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Hardy is the son of a University of New Hampshire professor. It was his fourth deployment in Iraq, according to his father, Stephen Hardy, a professor of kinesiology. His mother, Donna Hardy, is an administrative assistant in UNH’s psychology department.
Family: Navy SEAL was quiet, but ‘fabulous at what he did’
Naval Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Koch attended Penn State University, but left to enlist in the Navy in 1998 and entered SEAL training in 1999.
Joining the elite Special Forces was always his goal, said his father, Donald Koch.
“That’s why he went into the Navy to try out for the SEALs,” Koch said. “He was very humble and quiet but fabulous at what he did.”
Koch, 29, of State College, Pa., was killed Feb. 4 from wounds suffered from small-arms fire in Iraq. He was a 1996 high school graduate and was assigned to Virginia Beach, Va.
His family is close. His father, a 20-year Air Force veteran, camped out in the woods while Koch was going through his SEAL training in 1999, trying to put himself through some of the same experiences his son was enduring.
Koch served in Kosovo and Afghanistan, winning the Bronze Star among other honors. Family outings might include skydiving, snowmobiling or scuba diving.
One Christmas, he told his younger brother, Matthew, and younger sister, Tiffany, to peek in the garage. They each had a new motorcycle.
He also is survived by his mother, Jean.
Koch’s parents 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran Donald Koch of Coudersport and Jean Ann Burkholder of Corinth, Texas were born and raised in Jersey Shore. His sister, Tiffany Barnard, lives in Loganton.
The young man visited the area just after Christmas, spending time with his father and grandparents, Mary Ann and Stephen Smeltzer of Linden, and Dolores and Floyd Koch of Jersey Shore, according to his aunt, Holly Smeltzer of Avis.
“He was such a wonderful man. We are so proud of him,” Holly said this morning as she talked about his recent holiday visit.
She said her nephew will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Mike’s mother and his brother, Matthew Koch, were told the news of Mike’s death while serving in Iraq themselves. Both are working with U.S. contractors there.
Matthew, who accompanied his brother’s body back to Virginia Beach on Tuesday, also served 6 years in the U.S. Navy, Holly said. Mike’s mother left for Virginia Beach yesterday afternoon.
Another aunt, Williamsport resident Dee Brown told a Virginia newspaper that Michael came from a family where military values run deep.
The family is so close, Brown said, that while Koch was going through his SEAL training in 1999 his father camped out in the woods, trying to put himself through some of the same experiences his son was enduring.
Family outings might include skydiving or scuba diving, Brown said.
Koch didn’t like to talk about his military experiences, according to Brown, though she said it was obvious he loved his work.
“He was humble,” she said. “He would prefer that we didn’t talk about it. He would just say, ‘It’s my job.’”
He and his sister were born on an Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska, and Matthew was born on another base in New Mexico, Brown said.
Koch also leaves behind his fiancee, Kathy Howell of Virginia Beach. The couple was engaged for eight years. After high school, Koch attended Penn State for a year and a half. He enlisted in the Navy in July 1998 and entered SEAL training in January 1999.
During his career, he received the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
In addition to fighting in Iraq, he also served in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
To Order Click... HERE
The Tye BandTM Memorial Bracelets / Memorial Wristband and
The TyeTags© Memorial Necklace / Keychain are also available.
Military Bracelets - Memorial Bracelets - Fallen Officer Wristband - Fallen Officer Bracelets - Custom Bracelet - Memorial Wristbands - Memory Bracelet - Picture Bracelet - Picture Wristband - Photo Bracelet - Photo Wristband
The Tye Band Memorial Bracelet is a wonderful way to Display Case your hero.
For a look a some unique Display Cases click... here
The Tye BandTM "The Bands that TYE us all together©"
512 North Spruce St. - Valley NE 68064-9670
Reproduction of any part or all of the contents of this site is forbidden without the expressed written permission from Mike & Rita Pratt.