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Fifteen Years«Back to View Articles | Back to All Articles
9/8/2007 - David Mower

It’s been fifteen years today.  Seems like yesterday.  Seems like a lifetime.  Our son, Michael died on this date in 1992.  He was 21.  It was no one’s fault.  Mike had an undetected heart ondition that caused a heart attack and killed him in mere moments from the on set.  Mike is our only son. 

 
Mike was in the Army.  Who would have guessed?  A very bright young man who didn’t want to go college right away, but first wanted to be on his own.  He tried working for a big box store, first in Springfield, and later in Florida, but for it’s hard an active young man to pay all the bills, rent, and food on big box wages.  The Army was not unfamiliar to Mike since he was an Army brat traveling around with the family;  besides his best friend’s father was also an Army general.   Army pay was reasonable, and besides the fed you regularly and gave you a place to sleep.

When Mike scored very well on the Army’s aptitude tests, and they offered him a huge bonus to enlist for one of the “spook” job fields, he was hooked.   So off he went to join the Army and see the world that fall day in 1990.  He took basic training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.  The First Gulf War was just winding down.  Mike as allowed to switch job specialties to work on Apache Helicopters, spending Advanced training  at Fort Eustis learning to repair the armament systems.  He graduating first in his class, Mike was assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky – Home of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) “Screaming Eagles”.

 Unexpectedly, Mike arrived home on a 3 day pass on that 5th of September – Labor Day Weekend in 1992.   We had not seen him in over a year.  It was a huge surprise to say the least.  We went to “Mike’s Restaurant” in Springfield which is known for its fabulous food, and besides we like the little irony of taking Mike to “Mikes”.

We stood on the lawn that Sunday evening as he was preparing to drive back to Ft Campbell.  Both my wife and I remarked to him how great it was to see him, how good he looked in his uniform and what great shape he appeared to be in with all that Army PT.  He got back to his unit just before mid-night and was sitting on the floor with his roommates all discussing their 3-day pass adventures, when he suddenly announce that the “those lights are absolutely beautiful”, fell over and died.

 
Specialist Mike Mower with his unit at the
Army's National Training Center in late August 1992

Medics were there within 5 minutes, but it was too late.  Later we would learn that Mike suffered from a congenital heart condition that was never detected even during the very thorough Army Flight Physicals which he took.  The heart walls were enlarged eventually causing the heart valves not to close properly.  Many people may be familiar with the term “sudden death syndrome” usually associated with an athlete in seemingly perfect heath dying on the ballfield.   Ft. Campbell was Mike’s ballfield.

 
Arlington Cemetary
8 Sep 2007

Thank God for the 3-day pass.  We got to see, talk and touch him for those fleeting moments 15 years ago.  It seems like yesterday.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

 

[You can read a little bit about how we have delt with the loss of our son, Mike, HERE]


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