SEOUL — An Army military policeman who deployed to Iraq from South Korea was killed by enemy forces on Monday, according to the Defense Department.
Pfc. Michael K. Oremus, 21, of Highland, N.Y., died after being shot, according to the DOD news release.
Oremus deployed in June with fellow members of the 57th Military Police Company, which belonged to the 728th Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade. By August, both the battalion and brigade had moved to Hawaii as part of force restructuring in South Korea. Soldiers from the 57th will move directly to Hawaii when they finish their Iraq deployment.
Oremus was a 2002 graduate of Highland High School, the Daily Freemon of nearby Kingston, N.Y., reported Wednesday.
“Mike was always an undersized person but had the biggest heart,” Michael Passante, 22, who played soccer with Oremus in high school, told the paper. “He never backed down from anything. He would never back down from players twice his size.”
Peter Watkins, the athletic director for the Highland Central School District, recalled having Oremus as a student in the sixth grade. Watkins told the Daily Freeman that Oremus was affable — somebody the other kids “really liked.”
“Mike was the kind of kid who always had a smile on his face,” Watkins told the paper.
Watkins told the Freeman that Oremus’ father died about a dozen years ago and that his mother now lives in Kerhonkson, N.Y. Oremus also has two brothers, Richard and Eric, Watkins said.
Oremus is the third Highland resident killed in Iraq, the paper noted.
Military officials were unable Wednesday to confirm how long the company will stay in Iraq.
“To each, there is no higher calling than to serve your country in a time of war,” Col. Falkner Heard, former brigade commander, told the deploying troops during a June 19 ceremony at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, according to base news reports. “This is the most dedicated, technically and tactically proficient unit in the MP Corps. We are proud of you.”