Donald McCune wanted to be a fighter. He named his pets after characters in the fighter-pilot movie “Top Gun,” and when the time came, he asked to transfer to a unit that would go to Iraq.
“He felt this was something he needed to do, and I’m very proud of what he wanted to do,” said his mother, Darcy Lewis.
McCune, 20, of Ypsilanti, Mich., died Aug. 5 in Landstuhl, Germany, from injuries he sustained the day before in Balad, Iraq. After bouncing through high schools in Indiana and Michigan, McCune had enlisted in the Army by the time he earned his high school equivalency degree in 2002. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, rooting for the Detroit Red Wings, country music and cars.
“He was always driving something different,” said his grandfather, Rick Monier. “He would play with something and then sell or trade it.”
McCune was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Brigade Combat Team, and stationed in Moses Lake, Wash. Before that, he served nearly two years with an Army Reserve unit out of Fraser. McCune grew up in Chelsea. He attended high school in Fort Wayne, Ind., while living with his father and at Huron High School when he lived in Ann Arbor with his mother, Darcy Lewis, and stepfather, Army Sergeant Benjamin Lewis. He had enlisted in the Army by the time he earned his high school equivalency degree in 2002.
Benjamin Lewis served with the Michigan Army National Guard’s 156th Signal Battalion before returning home three months ago. McCune had left for Iraq the previous week, and was to have been there until May 2005.
Benjamin Lewis said he and McCune bonded over their military service, and that he’ll miss his stepson’s attitude. “He liked to push buttons,” a smiling Lewis told The Ann Arbor News on Saturday.
“I’m proud of my son,” McCune’s mother said. “I believe we’re there for a reason and I hope someday his death means something, that something’s been accomplished. He’s not just a statistic.”
“Regardless of what people feel about the war, people need to remember there are Americans over there and they’re there for a reason,” Darcy Lewis said. “They still need to be supported, regardless of people’s feelings.”
We honor you, Donald McCune.