PINE BLUFF — A U.S. Army soldier and Pine Bluff native has died in Afghanistan just days before he was scheduled to come home for his son’s third birthday, family members said.
Sgt. Michael Strachota, 28, died last weekend of injuries suffered in hostile action in an incident that is still under investigation by the military, his family said.
Family members were notified of Strachota’s death Sunday. An Army spokesman declined a request for details.
Strachota was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, and assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
His wife, Lauren Strachota, said the couple married in 2004 and her husband joined the military in 2007.
She said her husband was “a good husband and a great father” who was devoted to their young son, William, who was born when his father was serving a tour of duty in Iraq.
“He was trying to come home for our son’s third birthday on July 5. We missed it by a week,” Lauren Strachota said in an interview with the Pine Bluff Commercial.
“He will be missed. We love him,” she said as her voice began to waver. “We just want everyone to know what a good person he was.”
Michael Strachota’s mother, Linda Baxter of Star City, said her son was a generous and kind-hearted person.
”He would do anything for anybody,” Baxter said. “He was very friendly and outgoing.”
Baxter said her son joined the Army as a career choice.