Our Hero, Sgt Michael C. Barkey.
After Mike died we recieved this letter from Darcie O' Shea, It is pasted below. It told about Mike in such a touching way Darcie is an excellent writer and captured so much of who Mike was. As a mom I cry everytime I read it. .It was used in his program at the funeral. We also attached a picture and an article his brother, John wrote that was also in the program.
Thanks for all you do for our military and our fallen heroes and their families. We don't want Mike forgotten and you help keep his memory alive.
Julie and Hal Barkey
Proud parents of Sgt Michael C. Barkey ANG
KIA 7/7/04 Ar ramadi, Iraq
For The Barkey’s:
3 years ago our AT was at Camp Grayling Michigan and I was walking back from the PX with a friend. As I look up I see a rather comical sight. There’s a guy in PT’s and a kevlar riding some cheap ass bicycle. He pedals over to us and there before me is the greenest pair of eyes I’ve ever seen and the biggest goofiest grin. He chats briefly with us, telling us he rented the bike ‘cause it was fun. He puts back on his army helmet and rides off and that was my first experience with Mike Barkey.
Barkey was by far the funniest person I’ve ever met. Perhaps it was the faces he made while doing voices or character impressions, or the way he could grab something I said and poke fun at it for weeks on end and it still made me laugh. He knew how to make people smile and laugh and you could tell he fully enjoyed doing it. He was the heart of 3rd platoon and was always leading his friends into some ridiculous hilarious conversations. I remember him and Jesse used to have contests on who was better at what. Back and forth they would play argue on who was better looking, who was better at basketball, at wrestling, who got more girls, and on and on. I loved watching those two play, like two little kids, lost in the endless moments of youth and innocence. Barkey brought out the best in everyone. He brought out the inner child in all of us and when he did, time stopped, worries disappeared and all you could see was smiles and joy on all of our faces. And even though he was a republican, a passionate one at that, he’d still come over to Me and Amy’s apartment and discuss politics with us two "damn liberals" as he incessantly called us. We’d argue until we were blue in the face, but he kept making logical points and it would piss us off so much. He’s sit there and giggle cause he knew he was winning and we’d have to stop, cause it’s impossible to argue with someone so cheery, so lovable. We’d agree to disagree and went out for drinks instead.
On July 4th, I was walking past 3rd platoon’s area when Barkey came out of his room and asked me where I was going. I told him I was on my way to the bathroom and he asked me if I could ground guide him back to our area. I said sure and he walked me to the port-o-potties. I’d been feeling so frustrated with this place lately and I asked him, "You know what I think is wrong with this place? There’s too many good people, like us E-4's, oh yeah, and a few Sgt.’s (since he was Sgt. Barkey now) that are being lead by too many bad people, you know?" He looked at me with a peace in his eyes that almost gave me chills and said so nonchalantly, so relaxed, "Hey, we’ll be just fine." I remember thinking that wasn’t the answer I was expecting. I thought he’d most certainly agree since he’d been so upset with the way things were going here, too. I replied with a sigh, "Yeah, I guess so," and went into to the latrine. When I came out, we casually walked down to the end of the truck line where his tractor sat. We talked of the missions and the heat and I asked him if he’d come to Thursdays (bar) again with Amy and I when we all got back. He got that goofy look on his face and his eyes widened and he said, "Uh, no, ‘cause I don’t go to gay bars." I laughed as he stepped into the cab and started the engine. I walked back to their area as he followed me and I couldn’t help but feel strange. There was a very noticeable calm in Barkey and something inside of me was tugging on my soul. I just didn’t know why or what it was. He pulled up and parked and shouted "Thanks!" from the window. Still walking back to my bunker, I turned around and waved to him. And I had an inclination to say good bye to him, wish him luck on his mission, but I didn’t. And I so wish I had.
Two days later, I was driving the lead vehicle in a convoy from Anaconda back to TQ. Sgt. Stahl was in the cab with me and as soon as we left the gate he said to me, "Just for the record, I don’t have a good feeling about tonight." I told him I was more tense than I had ever been and I prayed we would be safe. I found out later that Sgt. Stef and Spc. Brooks also said the exact same thing right as we left the gate, around 12:30, about the same time that Barkey’s spirit left this world.
When we came upon the accident, we didn’t know that it involved people from our unit. When we passed the wrecked vehicles, Brooks, who was in the gun box in my truck, said the bumper number said 1484th. My heart dropped and my brain screamed a hundred times Barkey’s name. I shook my head and took a deep breath and pushed that thought away as hard as I could. No, not Barkey. The rest of the way back to TQ was never-wracking. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to believe that one repetitive thought that reverberated in my mind.
We made it back as the sun was coming up and we were told we were having a formation. The captain brought us all in close to him as he started to read off the names of the injured. Please not Barkey, please not Barkey, was all I could think. And then Capt. Brown said, "Unfortunately, Sgt. Barkey....." and you could hear 50 knives stabbing each of our hearts and the sudden gasps, and that was all I needed to hear. I ran to the back of the formation and kneeled down and cried. I pounded the sand with my fists cause I was so mad that I knew. So mad. I thought of Julie and his family and then I thought of Jesse, his best friend, still on gate guard. He didn’t know.
At 3:30 they brought all the people back from gate guard and broke the news to them. Jesse’s friends were there for support and we held him and cried with him and did what we could.
Later that day, I was in my room with Brooks, trying to figure out why this had happened. I told him how calm Barkey was the last time I saw him and Brooks told me that his grandma said that she believes that people know when it is there time to go. She said that when her husband left her, he called off work, he told her not to worry about making him breakfast and told their grandson that he didn’t have to go to the school that day. She said he was very calm and relaxed. And this made me think, that maybe Barkey knew. Jesse had told me that Barkey had been so down and upset about all the shit that was going on here and that he thought he died angry. But I don’t think he did. I think that the Holy Spirit, God, whatever you believe in, was with him a few days before it happened, filling him with peace and the unconscious knowledge that he had a place waiting for him in Paradise. That’s why he told me everything was going to be okay, ‘cause he was filled with the spirit of God and he was being taken care of. He was going to heaven and he knew it.
When I realized this, my heart swelled and a warming sense of love washed all over me and visions of Barkey smiling were right behind my eyes. It was like his spirit was there, telling me he was okay now, he was in heaven, in a place where joy is his warming blanket and love whispers to him while he looks down on all of us. He is smiling and he is filled with the spirit of peace.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. Even though it is so very difficult to see good in such a tragedy, I know that when Barkey’s spirit left this place, a ripple of life, of his life, went through us all. We all felt him. And we all are forever changed because of him. In some way, shape or form, his passing will make us all better people. We will always remember his joy, his love, his big teddy bear heart, and his insatiable humor. I am grateful for having known such a vibrant soul and I will always keep him close to my heart. I love you Barkalark.