East Tennessee Marine killed in gun battle in Iraq

(Now-Sergeant) Michael Ferschke, Jr., a radio operator with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Deep Reconnaissance Platoon, loads a magazine of seven rounds into his MEU SOC (Special Operations Capable) .45-caliber pistols for a close-quarters battle drill here Aug. 8. Is a specialized version of the classic Colt M-1911A1 frame, tailored particularly to offer the recon Marines with the stopping power required to help accomplish specific missions. In DRP's case, they are likely to find themselves in a stand-off, within steps away from their enemy. The time needed to fire off a second round to incapacitate the enemy can mean life or death. (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Marine Corps, Taken By: Lance Cpl. Kamran Sadaghiani)

Maryville (WVLT) - A Maryville Marine has paid the ultimate sacrifice while fighting the war on terror.

Lauren Davis has more.

His family says he wanted to go to Iraq to fight for his country and defend his family's freedom. Sergeant Michael Ferschke, Junior died this weekend doing just that. He was a radio operator with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Deep Reconnaissance Platoon. His family and friends say they'll get through this tough time knowing Sergeant Ferschke died doing what he loved.

In his teens, Michael Ferschke performed on this stage at Maryville High. His drama teacher, Sherry Petrowski, remembers his outgoing personality and passion for life.

"He loved his school and he loved his community and he'd always come back and check in with us," Petrowski said.

Ms. Petrowski is proud of the role Michael played in his final days of battle-- a heroic Marine in Fallujah. Gunfire erupted during a house to house search for insurgents Sunday and Michael fought til his death. His former math teacher who corresponded with him often received word today.

"I'm very sad about it, and I know he represented us well," teacher Ashley Porter said.

With his blue eyes and big dashing smile, Michael is remembered as a loving and strong brother, uncle, son and husband. He leaves behind a Japanese wife he proposed to on the eve of his deployment in March, and married by proxy in July while he was in Iraq. Michael died on his one month wedding anniversary and like a plot from a play, Michael's pregnant wife will give birth to his only child this coming January.

"We're all excited he's left a large part of him here," relative Douglas Cooper said. "The child will never need for anything."

The final curtain has come down on Michael's life, but his legend will "play-on" forever.

Funeral arrangements haven't been made yet. The family's awaiting the return of his body.


MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Maryville Marine has been killed in Iraq, according to a friend of the Marine's family.

Family friend Doug Cooper says Sergeant Michael Ferschke, Jr., 22, was killed Sunday in a gun battle that erupted during a house-to-house search in Iraq.

Ferschke was married exactly one month before he died, Cooper says.

Cooper says Ferschke's wife, Hota, lives in Japan where the two met when Ferschke was stationed in Okinawa. She is five month's pregnant, he says.

Ferschke is a Maryville High School graduate.

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