Friends, family remember McAlester man killed in Afghanistan

Friends, family remember McAlester man killed in Afghanistan

KABUL — Quick facts:

  • Michael G. Sauro of McAlester died in Afghanistan on Thursday.
  • Sauro worked with the ammunition plant. He was a civilian employee.
  • He died alongside Sgt. Douglas J. Riney of Illinois.

A McAlester man died after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Michael G. Sauro, 40, died of wounds after encountering hostile enemy forces, according to the Department of Defense.

Sauro was a civilian employee working with the ammunition plant. Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, of Fairview Illinois, also died in the attack. It happened Wednesday at an Afghan military ammunition supply point. The incident is under investigation.

Two others were injured and are being treated. The two were supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel, the most recent move by the Pentagon in Afghanistan.

“Mike was the type of person who no matter what you asked of him, he was always willing to lend a helping hand to everybody,” said Deborah Schreiner, chief of HAZMAT Training at the Defense Ammunition Center. “He was such a joy to work with and always so upbeat. He was an exceptional person and employee.”

Sauro deployed to Afghanistan on Sept. 17, he was scheduled to return to the United States in March. This was his third deployment. He began his federal civilian service in 1999 working for the Defense Ammunition Center.

“Mikey was a stand-up guy, both as a manager and a friend to all of us members of the DAC instructor cadre,” said Lyn Roberts, an instructor and co-worker at the Defense Ammunition Center. “We will miss his sunny disposition, as well as his genuine kindness. I, for one, will have a smile on my face when I think of the stories he'd tell. We are lucky to have had Mikey in our lives.”

Senators Jim Inhofe, James Lankford and Representative Mullin released statements about Sauro's death:

"My prayers and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Michael Sauro who was killed in Afghanistan serving our nation," Inhofe said. "Michael is one of our civilian warriors and heroes who serve alongside our uniformed members, performing critical tasks to ensure mission success. It is times like this that we must remember our nation remains at war, and the service and sacrifice of our active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilians is what helps to keep America safe. Michael's bravery and commitment to his nation, through repeatedly volunteering to serve and provide his military expertise in combat zones overseas, will never be forgotten."

"I'm saddened by the death of Michael Sauro in Afghanistan this week," Lankford said. "America is grateful for his sacrificial service to protect our freedoms. Mr. Sauro honorably served our nation as an Army civilian at the McAlester Ammunition Plant like so many Oklahomans and people from across the nation come to McAlester to do. Our nation understands that freedom is not free and that it is protected by our law-enforcement, our intelligence community, and our civilian, reserves and active-duty military who work every day to keep us safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

"This is a tragic loss for MCAAP and the people of McAlester," Mullin said. "Mr. Sauro dedicated his life to working with the Armed Services to ensure the warfighter was equipped with the best we had to offer.  My prayers are with his family and friends, and I grieve with them for the loss of this American hero."

Sauro's remains are enroute to Dover Airforce Base. Funeral services are pending.