June 19, 2007
Copyright © 2007, The Des Moines Register.
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Faith is a big part of the lives of Army Pfc. Michael Patrick Pittman and his family.

And faith is what they were clinging to Saturday night in the Quad-Cities and Kansas.

Pittman, 34, a member of 14 Cavalry Regiment based out of Fort Riley, Kan., was killed Friday in Iraq from what his wife, Jennifer, called an “ambush from a complex IED,” or improvised explosive device while he was in a Humvee.

“He was the only one killed. Three others were slightly wounded,” she said from Kansas, where she lives with their four children.

A service is expected to be held Wednesday at Fort Riley, but she said there also will be a memorial service held in the Quad-Cities soon. Funeral arrangements are expected to be worked out Monday, she said.

Michael Pittman is the son of Sandra Hughes of Rock Island and her husband, Frank, who are pastors of Road to Recovery of the Quad-Cities church in Moline.

“I thought it was going to happen to anybody’s son, not Michael,” Sandra Hughes said Saturday night when asked whether she worried about this day coming. “I put him in God’s hands and I prayed. I don’t understand it. But you don’t question God. God works out everything for good for those who love him, and I know Michael is in heaven.”

Michael and Jennifer met years ago in Florida and lived off and on in Davenport until Aug. 25, 2005, when Michael enlisted in the Army. “I was excited. I grew up military and I always wanted that for my kids, to be able to travel and be well cared for,” Jennifer said.

Since being deployed in February, “I talked to him mostly every day,” she said, with the last time “about four days ago. He had his down times, but he was pretty much the one who was encouraging everybody. He was just always putting others in front of himself. He always wanted to help others, to do whatever he can whether he suffered or not.”

And now. “My faith is keeping me going,” she said.

Hughes said her daughter-in-law was told Friday afternoon, “and she assumed the Army notified me. … She was waiting for me to call her. When she didn’t hear from me, she called me around midnight. I am kind of glad she told me instead of strangers.

“His whole concern was for other people,” Hughes said. “For other men over there, whether or not they would be where they should be. He was a good kid.”

Hearing the news Saturday also was difficult for Becky Hamm of Davenport, who is good friends with the Pittmans. They had met years ago when the Pittmans lived in Davenport and attended Vineyard Church of Davenport.

“It’s really hard,” Hamm said.

Friday night, she said she and some friends went to the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall that was on display along the Davenport riverfront during Sturgis on the River. The wall displays all the names of the 58,000 soldiers killed during Vietnam.

“I saw those names and they don’t mean anything because you don’t know them,” Hamm said. “Now, when it is someone you know, it’s hard. It was in his heart to serve his country.

from Shari

The best memory I have of Mike is seeing him with his kids.  He loves Jennifer and the kids so much.  Mike would accept anyone, he has a heart for the person who struggles to walk a Christian life, especially if they battle with alcohol  or drugs.  His demeanor puts people at ease.

I saw on the Westboro Baptist Website that they intend to picket this funeral.  It is on the Fort Riley Post on Wednesday.  Please pray that these people are hampered from attending. 

Thanks for praying,



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