MORGANTOWN, WV, USA U.S. Army CPL, HHC, 82D AIRBORNE DIVISION, FORT BRAGG, NC BAGRAM, AFGHANISTAN 04/27/2007
A West Virginia soldier based at Fort Bragg, N.C., died last week in Afghanistan. the military said April 30. Specialist Daniel F. Mehringer, 20, of Morgantown, W.Va., died in a non-combat incident April 27 at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Mehringer was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s Special Troops Battalion out of Fort Bragg.
His stepmother, Sally Mehringer, said in an interview that the family does not know what went wrong. She said Specialist Mehringer, a paratrooper, previously had been hurt jumping out of an aircraft and may have had a lingering injury.
“There may have been medical issues. We’re not sure,” she said.
Mehringer, who joined the Army in September 2004, had been with the 82nd Airborne Division since March 2005, according to the division.
“Specialist Mehringer loved the adrenaline rush of jumping out of an aircraft, and he was proud to be an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper,” said Sergeant First Class Rahn Bass, Mehringer’s supervisor. “He was the consummate professional and was looking forward to serving his country for many years to come.”
But he also knew he wanted more — the responsibility of flying a helicopter and overseeing a crew, just as his father had done in another war.
Howard Mehringer was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and now flies for West Virginia’s state government. Specialist Mehringer had been accepted for Army flight training but died before he could begin, his stepmother said.
Other members of the Mehringer family, both men and women, have a history of military service. Specialist Mehringer’s grandfather, also named Howard, served in World War II. His sister, Melissa Hunt, now 23, was in the Army National Guard and served in Iraq during the early stages of the war. Her deployment may have inspired him to join the Army in the first place, Sally Mehringer said.
Daniel entered the army following graduation from high school. He was very proud to serve his country. He attended School in Belington and Morgantown and he graduated from Morgantown High School in 2004, where he met his future wife, Marialies. They were married in June 2006 in the Florida Keys. They were together at Ft. Bragg for six months, and he was then deployed to Afghanistan.
He loved his family, his dogs, Thor and Pandora, his horse, D’Artagnan, his firebird-trans am, computer games and baseball. Mehringer is survived by his wife, Marialies Renee, and his parents.