Megan Allen is a friend of our family. Here is a short story from our local paper.
Megan Allen plummeted from joy to sorrow within about 60 minutes Thursday afternoon. Just one hour after learning she had earned her first job as a third-grade teacher, the 22-year-old found out that the man she planned to marry had been killed by an improvised explosive device while serving with a Marine battalion in Afghanistan.
Marine Cpl. Tony Mihalo, 23, was one of two servicemen from Naperville killed this week in combat. Army Cpl. Jim Hale, 23, who attended Naperville Central High School but moved to Ohio before graduating, died Wednesday when his vehicle also encountered an IED in Baghdad.
Mihalo enrolled in the Marines while still a student at Naperville North High School, where he played as a defensive lineman on the football team. He also played basketball and wrestled. In October 2004 he headed off to train in San Diego and was deployed for a seven-month stint in Iraq 10 months later, serving with the 2nd battalion of the 7th regiment. After spending a year at the Marine Corps Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., he was deployed for the second time in March 2007.
Allen threw a big party for Mihalo when he finished the tour last January, expecting that he was back to stay. But that wasn’t the case. He was called to Afghanistan one month later, this time to serve in the 3rd battalion because the unit was short on combat veterans.
Allen said the last time she spoke with him 20 days ago, he talked about completing the last two credits of his associate degree and studying criminal justice when he returned home in October. “He was talking about what he was going to do when he got back,” said Allen, adding that he loved wrestling, history and politics. “He was always dreaming about the future.”
Just before that last phone call, Mihalo had been hospitalized for three days after being hit by a grenade. When Allen – tipped off by a phone call from the Marines – asked him about the shrapnel, he at first denied that he had been injured.
His injury last month was his third Purple heart and could have been his ticket home via a hospital in Germany. But Tony didn’t want to abandon his unit and chose to stay in Afghanistan.
Gob Bless Tony Mihalo. God Bless his family and friends. God Bless all our brave men and women who stand in harms way to defend all of us. We are the luckiest people on the face of the earth.