Community mourns Heartland soldier killed in Iraq - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Community mourns Heartland soldier killed in Iraq

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Sgt. Michael Bartley Sgt. Michael Bartley
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FAIRFIELD, IL (KFVS/AP) - Family, friends and community members are remembering a Wayne County, Illinois, soldier killed during a training exercise in Iraq.

A Pentagon statement issued Monday says Sgt. Michael Bartley, 23, was one of two soldiers killed Saturday by an Iraqi soldier who apparently smuggled real bullets into a training exercise and opened fire.  The shooter was immediately killed by American soldiers who were running the drill at that training center in Mosul, Iraq.

The Pentagon says Spc. Martin J. Lamar, 43, of Sacramento, CA, was also killed in the incident. A U.S. statement issued Saturday says a third soldier was wounded.  Bartley was a graduate of Fairfield Community High School.  Former principal Diana Zurliene, now superintendent of Fairfield Elementary School, said Bartley knew from an early age that he wanted to join the armed forces.

"'(He told me) 'Ms. Z, I'm going to go into the military' and I said, 'Michael, that's a good ambition for you.'  And he worked towards that," Zurliene said. "He played sports and he stayed in shape and everything 'cause he said 'When I join I've got to be able to do the PT and everything like that.'  So that was always his goal that he was going to join the military and make a future of it."

The flag at Fairfield Community High School was flown at half-staff Monday in honor of Bartley.  Fairfield Community High School Superintendent David Savage, said the school will have a moment of silence Tuesday morning and before their first game of the week to honor him.

"Michael was a very special young man, he was very dedicated. And not just to himself, but to his goals and his country," Superintendent Savage said.

"He was always the young man who looked at the glass as always half full. He never looked at the bad side of things, there was always a brighter side," said Superintendent Zurliene.

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