Michael Slebodnik

Michael Slebodnik

Click to Download Portrait

U.S. Army

From a decision made when he was young came an Army career that spanned more than two decades, service in three wars and dozens of medals, badges and other accolades.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael “Mickey” Slebodnik, 39; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; died September 11, 2008, at Bagram Airfield. He was conducting a reconnaissance and surveillance mission that day when the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter he was piloting came under small-arms fire near Forward Operating Base Nagil.

As a child, “Mickey,” as his family called him, wore camouflage, played with army men, painted models and staged battles. A talented artist and a math whiz, his primary interest was the military. He was fascinated by the Civil War and battle strategy and developed a strong bond with his grandfather, Wade Peters, who served in World War II. Mickey was so eager to join the Army that he went through a delayed entry program and enlisted at 17, right after graduating from Richland High School in 1987.

He was fiercely committed to the military. “He loved the military. He wanted to fly. He loved being a soldier.” He was an aeroscout observer during Operation Desert Storm. He later served five tours in Iraq during the current war and began his only tour in Afghanistan in January, 2008.

He loved playing chess, which his mother attributes to the game’s strategic aspect. He was a loving father and a voracious eater, but first and foremost, Mickey was a soldier.

Yet despite what he witnessed in war, his sister says in life, Mickey had compassion, character and was faith epitomized.

“Mickey believed in God and believed in prayer,” she said. “He looked for the goodness in everyone. He also told my mom he loved what he was doing, and if he died, he did it doing what he loved and not to be sad.”

Michael Slebodnik is survived by his wife, four children, two stepchildren, his parents, a brother and a sister.

He was in almost 22 years, he could have easily gotten out. “He never chose that option. It’s like a complete mission — you don’t leave until your mission is complete.” The task, the earthly mission God gave Mickey, has been accomplished. Every time he got in that helicopter he knew he was in God’s hands. Now he is at God’s side. God Bless you, Mickey.

Michael’s portrait is also located on Poster 5


6 Responses to “Michael Slebodnik”
  1. Andrew says:

    Hello Mr. Slebodnik, I can’t believe its been over 3 years now, it seems like it was yesterday I was joking with you about putting me on the flight schedule. I just wanted to leave a message for you, to tell you it was an honor knowing and serving with you. I will continue keeping you and your family in my mind and in my prayers. Outfront sir and rest in peace.

  2. Michelle C says:

    I never had the opportunity to meet you in person, nor most of the other pilots. To the ground convoys you were the watchful eyes overhead, our guardians. When I went to the memorial at JAF, I always wondered if you were the voice I heard over my truck radio. I credit all you guys as the reason we came back safe. It will be 4 years now, but I wanted to say your valor is not forgotten to any one of us….. – Road Dawgs A Co 201st

  3. Brian p says:

    Hey Sir. It’s been 5 years now and I still think about ya from time to time. It was an honor to serve with you. Your one if the best people to ever fly for the Cav. Your missed by many and we will see you again one day.

  4. Sam B says:

    I remember you from years past in 1-17 CAV, 82nd ABN DIV, FBNC. You were an excellent soldier, officer and aviator. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.
    Till we meet again at Fiddle’s Green.

  5. Jason Knott says:

    Mike, I wanted to say I still think about you from the days after operation desert shield/desert storm when you were my sergeant after I had returned from Korea. I always think of how good of a man you were. Godspeed!

  6. SFC Michael Terraforte says:

    Chief Slebodnik, I never met you before the incident that took your life but I heard many pilots that came to our aid when we called for CAS. That day your co-pilot landed at COP Nigel and I worked with our platoon, PA and another medic to try to save your life. I worked tirelessly and thought we gave you a chance when we got you on the medevac. As a medic I have carried your loss heavy and still use your memory as a tool for all medics I have taught.

Leave a Memory

If you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!