Based: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: February 8, 2008
Single, 1 child
High School: San Leandro High (San Leandro)
Foreign Country of Birth: Philippines
Burial: Lone Tree Cemetery, Hayward, Calif.
From Military Times:
HONOLULU — The Army says four soldiers in the Stryker brigade based at Schofield Barracks died in Iraq after a roadside bomb hit their vehicle.From SFGate:
The soldiers died in the town of Taji on Feb. 8.
Two of the soldiers were from California: Spc. Michael T. Manibog, 31, of Alameda, and Sgt. Timothy P. Martin, 27, of Pixley.
Manibog and Marting both joined the Army three years ago.
Staff Sgt. Jerald A. Whisenhunt, 32, of Orrick, Mo., and Sgt. Gary D. Willett, 34, of Alamogordo, N.M., also died.
Whisenhunt joined the Army in 2000 and Willett joined in 1995.
The four were assigned to the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the 25th Infantry Division.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, issued a statement saying the soldiers were part of “our island ohana,” or family.
“I salute these four brave soldiers for their service and sacrifice in a dangerous place far from home,” Inouye said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.”
The fatal attack was the second involving Hawaii’s Stryker brigade, which deployed in November and December with 4,000 soldiers and over 300 Stryker vehicles.
The first unit’s first combat fatality occurred Jan. 19 when Spc. Jon Michael Schoolcraft III, 26, of Wapakoneta, Ohio, died from wounds received when his Stryker vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
Read the entire SFGate article about Army Specialist Michael T. Manibog here, find more in the LA Times and visit Specialist Manibog's Guest Book.
Friends remembered him Tuesday as a dedicated soldier, a devoted father to his 9-year-old son, Terrell, and the person guaranteed to be the life of any party.
"He was very loud - his voice ... carried across the room, and he always joked around with everyone," said Carla Dorotheo, 30, of Hayward. "I will always remember him as being the comedian of the group. He made people smile, and he cared genuinely about his friends."
Manibog joined the Army because he wanted his son to be proud of him, Dorotheo said. "He also felt that this was the change he needed to become a better person and to help out his country," she said.
Brenda Reyes, 26, of San Leandro, the mother of Manibog's son, said he was a "kind-hearted person who always liked to make people laugh. He always helped other people regardless of whether he knew them or not, and basically he always had an extended hand to someone."
Erwin Rodrillo, 32, of Milpitas said Manibog was the reason he met his wife. Rodrillo had just returned from Iraq in 2004 after his second tour there as a Marine. Manibog took him to Dave and Buster's restaurant and bar in Milpitas. Rodrillo saw a pretty woman but was intoxicated, so he asked Manibog to forward a note to her on his behalf.
"I gave it to Mike and said, 'Hey, Mike, I'd really appreciate it if you gave this piece of paper to the lady,' and now we're married," Rodrillo said.