40 Days of Honor: Small-town hero, big-time heart

By Kevin Wood/NEMS Daily Journal

Pam Presley Cousar spends her days bringing babies into this world, but her world came to a standstill the day she learned that her baby was gone. Michael Brandon Presley was by all accounts a hero. His actions in Iraq in December 2005 saved several lives. But his heroic legacy didn’t just begin on a dusty road outside Fallujah. He was a hero long before that. He was a hero to the children at North Delta School in Batesville, where he often visited decked out in his uniform.
Principal John Howell shared this story about Brandon, “I remember when he finished his boot camp experience, he came by and visited with our first graders and he taught them how to march and salute. He enjoyed that.” It was that kind of joyful personality that made Brandon popular with people.
In December 2005, Corporal Brandon Presley’s convoy came under attack from a suicide bomber. Brandon was the commander of his MTVR (Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement), sitting at his gunner’s position atop the large truck. As his convoy drove down the road, a taxi that had been sitting on the side of the road accelerated toward the truck in front of Brandon. Faithful to his training, Brandon aimed his gun to engage the lone driver of the taxi. The driver detonated his explosive device early, just prior to making contact with his intended target. Unfortunately, Brandon was struck by shrapnel from the blast. His wounds would ultimately take his life. The men in his unit called him a hero for his actions, knowing that the death toll would have been much higher if he had not forced the driver to detonate early. He was a hero to them, to the children at North Delta School, but most of all to his mother.

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