Chapel Hill man, two others killed in Iraq

Staff WriterNovember 15, 2006 

An Army soldier from North Carolina and two Fort Bragg soldiers died from injuries suffered in combat over the weekend, according to new releases from the Department of Defense.

Staff Sgt. Misael Martinez, 24, of Chapel Hill, died Saturday in Ramadi of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany.

First Lt. Michael A. Cerrone and Spc. Harry Winkler were on patrol Sunday near Samarra when the vehicle they were traveling in was hit by a car bomb.

Cerrone, 24, of Clarksville, Tenn., was a platoon leader. Winkler, 32, of Jacksonville, Fla., was an infantryman. Both were assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg and had been deployed to Iraq in August.

Charity Winkler said when her husband finished his first Army assignment in February 2005, he tried to find a job and settle into a life without the military.

It wasn't about to happen, she said.

"He was not satisfied with being a civilian," Charity said of her husband, who was initially assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky., in February 2002. "He loved being in the Army. That's what he knew."

He re-enlisted in November 2005, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. At Fort Bragg, she said, the others looked up to him because he had been where they were possibly headed.

She takes solace in knowing he was doing something he loved.

She said he was looking forward to coming home on furlough in late December to be with his family, which includes Charity's 12-year old son, Tommy, and their 10-month-old son, Owen. Winkler was scheduled to be home for Owen's first Christmas and first birthday, on Dec. 28.

"He was planning on laying back on the couch, and having Owen on his chest, like he did when Owen was first born," she said.

Among the honors Winkler received during his time of service were the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

Cerrone was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in May 2004. He completed an Infantry Officer Basic Course and a Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., and was assigned to Company A in October 2005.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

Cerrone is survived by his father, Brig. Gen. James Cerrone, his mother, Elizabeth and his brother, James.

Staff writer Marlon A. Walker can be reached at 836-4906 or marlonw@newsobserver.com

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