A soldier from Minnesota described as a gentleman who loved serving in the military died last week after a collision of two armored vehicles near Mosul, Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class Mickey E. Zaun, 27, of Brooklyn Park, had been a soldier for nearly 10 years. The crash that led to his death Friday was not combat-related and remains under investigation, the
Department of Defense said in a statement Monday.
"We're all having kind of a hard time with this sinking in right now," said Julie Eberhardt, of Jamestown, N.D, Zaun's former mother-in-law from his marriage to Eberhardt's daughter, Melissa
Benoit, an Army paratrooper stationed in Germany.
"Mick was and always will be a part of our family. To us he's one of our kids," said Eberhardt, who learned of his death Saturday.
Zaun's family was not immediately available for comment on Monday.
Zaun became the 16th Minnesotan to die in Iraq since the war
began and the second within a week.
Sgt. Michael C. Carlson, 22, a two-sport star at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, died Jan. 24 in Mohammed Sacran, Iraq, when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle overturned. He was one of
five soldiers killed in the crash.
Zaun was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. He began his Army life in the summer of 1995, shortly after turning 18. Eberhardt said Zaun loved serving in the
military and had a strong circle of friends among his fellow soldiers. He and her daughter remained close after their marriage ended, she said.
"We're going to love and miss that kid forever," she said. "He was always a gentleman with our daughter. We have great respect for him."
Matt McKinney is at firstname.lastname@example.org.