KIA April 28, 2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 501stAirborne Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska
On April 28, 2007 in Iskandariyah, Iraq an IED detonated near SGT Hullender’s unit while on a combat patrol. Michael ran ahead to help prepare a wounded soldier for their medical transport when a secondary explosion occurred that took his life.
Michael was born on December 20, 1977 in DeKalb County, GA. During high school he played as an offensive linebacker for the football team and was a member of the Civil Air Patrol before he graduated in 1996 and started classes at West Georgia College.
In 1998, Michael decided to leave school and join the Army as a medic, where he believed he would make the most impact. He was assigned to a Ranger unit and quickly became one of the best Medics in the Army. On October 19th, 2001 he parachuted in to Afghanistan with the Third Battalion following the September 11thattack, as the first ground troops, other than CIA and Special Forces, in the war zone.
Following his initial deployments, Michael spent time training the elite Ranger medics before eventually getting assigned to Fort Richardson in Alaska in May of 2005 where he met and fell in love with his fiancé, Kyle Harper. Soon after, in October 2006, he was deployed again; four months in to his deployment he stepped on an IED that was buried too deep to do more than rattle Michael. During his leave to Alaska in 2007 he asked Kyle to marry him.
In early April 2007, after returning to Iraq, he put together a package for Kyle with a Mix CD and love letter in which he wrote, “So many times you’ve asked me what I love about you, and it is quite simple. You understand me. You see through my exterior flaws, and you see me for who I am. We can go through life not ever really knowing anyone, but to truly love and understand a person, and to accept their shortcomings, to grow with them, reinforce their strengths, and be their heart and soul is an amazing thing.” At the bottom of his letter he wrote, “I want you to listen to this any time you are feeling alone, frightened, anxious, or happy, and know that I am thinking of you.”The package didn’t arrive to Kyle until after Michael was killed.
Nicknamed, “Doc” Hullender, Michael is remembered as an incredible medic who was dedicated to his brothers-in-arms and to his family; He believed in his service to his country, and took every moment to show his family the love he felt for them.
SSG Michael Hullender was 29 years old from Little Falls, New Jersey.
The original portrait was delivered November 12, 2018 to his mother, Cindy Malmo, and family in Bridgewater, NJ during a special memorial ceremony made possible by Sanofi.
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