40 Days of Honour: Learning to Drive in Honor of SGT Michael Stafford

By Kevin Wood/NEMS Daily Journal

Michael Stafford knows a thing or two about driving a golf ball down the fairway. He’s an accomplished golfer who regularly shoots par or close or to it. Michael also knows a thing or two about driving a tank and a hummer. From 1992 to 1999, he spent seven years in the National Guard as a tank commander in an M1A1 Abrams tank. He then reenlisted in 2004 when several of his friends were activated as a part of the 155th Mississippi Heavy Brigade Combat Team. They deployed in March 2005 to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For the next five months, SGT Michael Stafford was stationed in Iskandariyah, near the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad. He was a part of a security element that conducted house raids, seizing weapons and flushing out insurgents. His team also investigated IED related accidents and deaths in the region.

On the night of August 8, 2005, SGT Stafford was driving a Humvee when his wheels an IED, blowing a hole in the vehicle. The explosion also tore off SGT Stafford’s leg at the left knee. As the vehicle burned and Iraqi insurgents fired on his crew from outside, SGT Stafford continued to bleed from his wound. He knew he needed to tie it off if he was to survive.