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In Memoriam

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Cpl. Michael Presley

(reprinted from SunHerald.com, December 15, 2005)
Mississippi Marine killed in Iraq

VALERIE BAUMAN
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. – A Marine who died this week of wounds sustained in Iraq enjoyed visiting elementary schools before his deployment and became somewhat of a celebrity in his small north Mississippi hometown, his former teacher said.

Cpl. Michael “Brandon” Presley, 21, of Batesville, died Wednesday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany after being wounded in a suicide bombing in Iraq, the Department of Defense said.

He was conducting combat operations when he was fatally injured in the explosion.

Presley was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Known as Brandon to his friends, Presley kept in touch with his teachers from the North Delta School – even while he was stationed overseas, principal John Howell said.

“The neat thing that made him stand out for those of us who taught him was the way he made a point to reconnect with us periodically,” Howell said. “Often when you teach, you have to guess at the work that you’re doing. But Brandon let us know that he appreciated us, and that made him stand out more than other students I have taught.”

Presley was a lineman for the school’s 2000 state football championship team when it won the Class 3A title.

He had a unique connection with children and enjoyed reaching out to the youth at his school, even after his own graduation, Howell said.

“As recently as this school year, he spent time visiting on our campus and he visited our elementary campus – and of course he was in his uniform and that made him somewhat of a celebrity to the children,” Howell said.

“I remember when he finished his bootcamp experience … he came by and visited with our first graders and he taught them how to march and salute. He enjoyed that.”

At least 41 soldiers with strong Mississippi ties have died in Iraq, according to an Associated Press count.