IMPACT

Spc. Dennis Weichel Dead: U.S. Soldier Dad Of 3 Kids Dies Saving Afghan Boy

03/29/2012 03:17 pm ET | Updated Apr 03, 2012

Flags were lowered at half staff in Providence, R.I. for a soldier who died saving an Afghan child.

While riding in a convoy in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan Thursday, Spc. Dennis P. Weichel Jr., 29, and his unit, noticed children collecting shell casings on the road ahead, ABC reports.

The soldiers urged the children to get out of the way, but one boy ran back to pick up more casings underneath a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle -- a truck that can weigh more than 16 tons.

To protect the boy from the massive vehicle, the Rhode Island National Guardsman lifted him out of the way, but the armored truck struck Weichel.

Weichel later died from injuries he sustained and the boy survived, according to the news outlet.

"Specialist Dennis Weichel's life was marked by bravery, selflessness, and commitment to others -- and unfortunately it was in demonstrating these remarkable characteristics that it was lost," Governor Lincoln Chafee said, according to WPRI. “And he will be remembered, and mourned, by people across our state as a great Rhode Islander.”

Weichel was posthumously promoted to Sergeant and was awarded the bronze star. He is survived by his parents, fiancé and three children.

CORRECTION: According to the Associated Press, Dennis Weichel died saving an Afghan boy, not an Afghan girl as the military initially reported.

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