Battle Rattle

Son pays tribute to Marine father killed in Iraq

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Six years ago on Sunday, Sgt. Michael Ferschke Jr. was killed in Iraq. And since then, Mikey, the son he never had the chance to meet, pays tribute to his father.

With a couple of markers and the blocky handwriting of a youngster learning to write, Mikey scrawls a love note to dad on a bunch of balloons before releasing them into the sky, completing an annual memorial to keep his father in mind.

Gunnery Sgt. Jimmy Stare captured this personal tribute in a quick video.

Ferschke was a radio operator and was fatally shot while storming a building in Salah a Din province that was holding several insurgents. Just a month before he was killed he married Hotaru Nakama, his girlfriend back in Okinawa, Japan. A month later she gave birth to Mikey.

Ferschke’s widow’s struggle to move to the U.S. after his death required an act of Congress and presidential approval to get resolved. The couple married by phone while he was deployed and Nakama received death benefits from the Defense Department after he was killed. But the Department of Homeland Security, the enforcers of immigration law, didn’t recognize their marriage and didn’t extend benefits, including ones that would have allowed Nakama to come to the U.S.

Eventually Congress passed the Marine Sergeant Michael H. Ferschke Jr. Memorial Act, and on Dec, 10, 2010 President Obama signed it into law, resolving the immigration snafu. The legislation only applies to this case.


  1. SSGT Tom Stella Says:
    August 12th, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Such an awesome tribute from an amazing boy, Semper Fi and God bless

  2. roy gray Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Finally, found something the bozos in washington have done something to be proud of…
    “Eventually Congress passed the Marine Sergeant Michael H. Ferschke Jr. Memorial Act, and on Dec, 10, 2010 President Obama signed it into law, resolving the immigration snafu. The legislation only applies to this case.”

  3. Roger Kalkhoven Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Hey there,
    Im you article it says Sgt Ferschke was a radio operator… he was a Reconnaissance Marine, not an radio operator. I’m pretty sure he was a Team leadrr as well and not the RTO in his team. I know because I went ti Amphibious Reconnaissance School with him and was with him on his deployment in 08′. Please change the info to show how bad ass he really was. Thanks for making this for a good friend. Semper Fi

    Sgt Kalkhoven
    4th Force Reconnaissance Co.

  4. Cpl. Land Says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Hello I too was in 3rd recon with him also deployed with him. While I am not a reconnaissance marine I was a boat mechanic attached to the HQ. Sgt. Ferschke was and forever will be a reconnaissance marine. I am glad his story is getting out there and seems to be going in a better direction than when I left 3rd please know that the title is very important especially to the recon community. I did not know him personally only in passing but he seemed to be a pretty good guy.