Last Sunday, First Lt. Michael Cerrone, 24, exited his Humvee to check out a suspicious car. His gunner, Specialist Harry "Buck" Winkler was covering the platoon from the turret. As the Lieutenant neared the vehicle, a man exited the car and approached the Humvee. The man detonated a bomb strapped to his body. Specialist Buck Winkler and First Lieutenant Cerrone, the son of Brigadier General Cerrone (on the staff of the 18th Airborne Corps), died in the blast. Two other paratroopers were seriously wounded. Cerrone and Winkler were paratroopers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. Winkler leaves behind his wife, Charity, and son, Owen. Cerrone was single.
...Cerrone’s men said in written statements of remembrance that he put their safety and welfare first. He lead from the front and all of the paratroopers would “unquestionably” follow him into battle.
His platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald H. Berryhill, said Cerrone was more than a leader, but a friend and “little brother.”
He remembers the first day Cerrone got to the unit. At the time, he was shy and quiet. But after a few months, he became more outspoken.
“I am truly blessed to have known him and to serve under his leadership,” Berryhill wrote. “He will never be forgotten. I will carry him with me always and I will always watch over his platoon. We will make him proud of his boys.”...
I cannot think of better praise of an Officer than that statement from Airborne Platoon Sergeant Berryhill. And for Specialist Harry Winkler:
...His platoon mates remembered him as one of the best soldiers in the unit and a crack shot. He had a great sense of humor and was the “guy to get things done.” He was also a devoted family man.
“Most of my best memories of Wink are ones of him bragging about how awesome his wife and son were. He was always at his best after he talked to his wife and watched his son on the computer,” Pfc. Daniel T Marsh wrote...
Below is a picture from the memorial held in Iraq by the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division:
Col. Bryan Owens, commander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, grips the "dog tags" of 1st Lt. Michael A. Cerrone, during a memorial ceremony in honor of Cerrone and Spc. Harry Winkler Nov. 16, 2006, at Forward Operating Base Brassfield-Mora near Samarra, Iraq. Cerrone and Winkler, both infantrymen, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, were killed by a suicide car bomb during a mounted patrol Nov. 12, 2006, just outside of Samarra. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden.
Jules Crittenden writes of Cerrone and Winkler and of a time when he embedded with that very same unit in the Balkans.
Godspeed, Michael Cerrone and Buck Winkler. Airborne.