PHILADELPHIA, PA, US
08/06/2011, WARDAK PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa., was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit. He died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed. Petty Officer 1st Class Strange had been based in Virginia Beach after being stationed in Hawaii.
If someone was sad, Michael tried to make them smile. He loved snowboarding, surfing, scuba diving, running, and shooting guns on the range. “He loved his friends, his family, his country; he loved making people laugh. He was one of a kind,” Strange’s brother, Charles Strange III, said outside the family’s Philadelphia home, where American flags were planted throughout the neighborhood.
Strange, 25, decided to join the military when he was still in high school, and had been in the Navy for about six years, first stationed in Hawaii and for the last two in Virginia Beach, where he became a SEAL about two years ago, his mother, Elizabeth Strange, said. But he always told his family not to worry. “He wasn’t supposed to die this young. He was supposed to be safe,” his mother, said. “And he told me that, and I believed him. I shouldn’t have believed him because I know better. He would say, ‘Mom, don’t be ridiculous and worry so much. I’m safe.'” Charles Strange said his brother loved the SEALS, especially “the competitiveness, getting in shape and running and swimming and all of that.”
He also had two sisters and recently became an uncle. The family last saw him in June, when he came for a weeklong visit for his birthday, his mother said. He was supposed to be back for Thanksgiving. “It was going to be such a good time,” his mother said. His grandmother Bernice Strange remembered him as a young man who loved cheesesteaks and the Philadelphia Eagles and always brought her flowers. “He was a wonderful grandson to have,” she said. “God truly blessed me with him.”
Loving fiancé of Breanna Hostetler. Loving son of Charles W. Strange, Jr and Elizabeth Strange. Brother of Charles W. Strange III, Katelyn Strange and Carly Strange. Uncle of Juliana Rose. Grandson of Madeline “Bernice” Strange and the late Charles W. Strange, Sr., and the late Rosemary F. and William D. Weney. Nephew to Maggie and Jim O’Brien, Roseann and Frank Samarco, Chris and Misty Weney and Donald Weney. Great nephew to Dr. and Mrs Thomas Mahoney. Cousin to Christopher Weney, Lisa Weney, Ryan Weney, Michele Weney, Rose Weney and Matthew Weney, Sean O’Brien and Rose O’Brien and Andrew Zimmerman, Jr.