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Utahn dies in Fallujah attack
Lance Cpl. Michael Allred would have cringed at the attention, his grieving father said Tuesday, a day after his son and six other Marines died in an attack by a suicide bomber who crashed into a convoy near the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
"He was a very likable young man, outgoing, friendly," said Brett Allred, at the family's northern Utah home. "But he was really personally reserved."
Allred, 22, was serving a second tour of duty in the war zone when he died on Monday in Saqlawiya, near the embattled city of Fallujah, about 35 miles west of Baghdad.
He had enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Sky View High School in Smithfield four years ago, and served during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003. Brett Allred said his son returned to his base at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in May 2003, and was sent to the Iraqi province of Anbar in March.
Allred was scheduled to return to the United States in October and leave the military in January after his enlistment term expired.
The family had few details of his death, other than to say officials privately informed them late Monday that another Utah Marine also had been killed in the car bombing.
Marine spokesman Maj. Jason Johnston said from the Pentagon that, by law, the military is prohibited from providing information until 24 hours after next of kin have been notified.
Although Allred kept in touch with his family through telephone calls and letters, he had neglected to mention that he had recently been awarded a Purple Heart for a small wound received in combat. It was a Marine commander who told the family of the medal.
"He and a lot of his fellow Marines firmly believed in their mission," said Brett Allred. "They felt they were doing a lot of good and they were willing to be there. I can't say they were glad to be there, but they were happy to do what was needed."
Allred's unit was responsible for helping train the Iraqi police and security forces, said his father. "He had favorable things to say about the Iraqis but [rebuilding Iraq] was going to be a long process."
The attack, which also killed three Iraqis, brings the number of U.S. troop deaths to more than 1,000, according to the Associated Press.
Allred was born in Vernal and in 1990 moved with his family to the small city of Hyde Park, about five miles north of Logan. His older brother Brad, 26, has memories of the two sledding off the roof of their home onto snowdrifts during the winters.
Now, more than 50 American flags tied with yellow ribbons dot the family's front yard and driveway. The centerpiece is Allred's prized fire-engine red Chevy S-10 pickup.
Friends and neighbors contributed signs and balloons. His uncle made a giant banner with the words, "Returned with honor, LCPL. Michael J. Allred, 1981-2004."
Allred once joked to his aunt that he joined the Marines because of the fancy dress uniform, which he characterized as a babe magnet. "That's so Michael," said Lisa Jorgensen of Salt Lake City.
"That," added his brother Brad, and because he believed the Marines were the best and he wanted to be the best.
The family spoke of an outpouring of love and support, but Allred's younger brother Daniel, 18, said he was working hard to comfort their mother, Zel. "She's having a hard time," he said.
Allred was remembered for his love of rock climbing, hunting and looking forward to civilian life, especially taking a long motorcycle trip.
He is survived by his parents, two younger brothers, 18 and 16, and his older siblings, twins Brad and Brooke, 26.