Local/State

Saying goodbye to Petty Officer Strange

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Loved ones of Petty Officer First Class Michael Strange were escorted from the funeral mass at the Basilica to a flag presentation ceremony at Logan Circle.

Strange, a North Catholic High grad, was assigned as a cryptology technical supporting Navy SEALs Team 6 in Afghanistan.

A good friend and fellow sailor described him as someone who was humble a driven professional but could enjoy himself.

"Mike, as he's watching over us, I know it's hard and trying, he would not want us to grieve, he would want us to celebrate, raise a drink, and party our pants off like he always did," friend Ian Regnir said.

Strange is survived by his mother Elizabeth, who carried his cremated remains, his father Charles, a brother and two sisters and a fiancé.

Earlier, at the basilica Warrior Watch volunteers set up a line of flags as people came to pay their respects.

"Our mission is to ease the pain of the family wherever we can," Bob Scott of Warriors Watch said.

Strange was one of 30 special ops troops killed August 6th when their helicopter was hit by Taliban fire in Afghanistan; that attack hit close to home for 1st Sergeant Derrick Bryant, an Iraqi war vet.

"We actually had a rocket get launched against our helicopter, but it missed," Bryant said.

Karla Gray works with Michael's father and what hit her the hardest was the petty officer's youth, he was 25.

"His life ended too short...too early," Gray said.

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philadelphia, pennsylvania, helicopter crash, afghanistan, local/state, john rawlins
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