Sgt. Dennis Weichel, 29, gave the world a measure of the bravery and humanity of our soldiers serving abroad this week. Weichel, a father of three from Rhode Island, gave his life to save an Afghan girl from being run over by a 16-ton armored fighting vehicle this week. While Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called all Americans “Demons” , Weichel did not hesitate to give his life for a little girl in danger.
Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman, was riding in the convoy in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan when he and his comrades saw Afghan children collecting shell casings on the road. The soldiers got out of the convoy to shoo the children away for their safety. Then, one girl suddenly ran back to grab a casing that the children collect for money. Weichel looked up and saw a MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, heading toward the girl. He ran in front of the armored vehicle, grabbed the girl, threw her to safety, and was then run over himself.
A member of the Rhode Island National Guard since 2001, Weichel had only arrived in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. He previously served in Iraq.
I can only imagine the pain and sorrow of this family. However, if it is some small comfort, the entire nation is mourning the loss of this wonderful human being.