Nickolas A. Mueller
Sergeant, United States Army
U.S. Department of Defense
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 849-09
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of seven soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died October 26,2009, of wounds suffered when the MH-47 helicopter they were aboard crashed in Darreh-ye Bum, Afghanistan.
Killed were five soldiers assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia:
Chief Warrant Officer Michael P. Montgomery, 36, of Savannah, Georgia
Chief Warrant Officer Niall Lyons, 40, of Spokane, Washington
Staff Sergeant Shawn H. McNabb, 24, of Terrell, Texas.
Sergeant Josue E. Hernandez Chavez, 23, of Reno, Nevada
Sergeant Nikolas A. Mueller, 26, of Little Chute, Wisconsin
Also killed were two soldiers assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Sergeant First Class David E. Metzger, 32, of San Diego, California
Staff Sergeant Keith R. Bishop, 28, of Medford, New York
For more information media may contact the
Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at 910-432-6005;
after hours 910-689-6187, or visit http://news.soc.mil.
Sergeant Nickolas A. Mueller, 26, of Little Chute, Wisconsin, was a member of the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and a Crew Chief on a Chinook helicopter.
Mueller died doing what he loved and left behind a family and girlfriend who are intensely proud of his sacrifice, parents Larry and Sharon Mueller told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
"This was something that he wanted to do, that he needed to do," Larry Mueller said. "We were behind him 100 percent."
The Pentagon said the helicopter crashed Monday while returning from the scene of a firefight with suspected Taliban drug traffickers. In a separate crash Monday, four more troops were killed when two helicopters collided over southern Afghanistan.
U.S. military officials insisted neither crash was believed a result of hostile fire, although the Taliban claimed they shot down a U.S. helicopter in the western province of Badghis. The U.S. did not say where in western Afghanistan its helicopter went down, and no other aircraft were reported missing.
The Defense Department did not immediately confirm that Mueller was on board. But Mueller's parents said they were awoken just after midnight Tuesday by three fellow members of the 160th regiment.
"We had a feeling all day because Nick did not call," Sharon Mueller said. "I went to bed thinking, 'No news is good news, Nick's OK.' Then there was the knock on door."
She paused and then exhaled.
"I'll never forget them three guys standing on my porch," she said softly. "I thought Nick would never die."
Nick Mueller always wanted to be a fighter pilot, the mother said. Even when he was little he decorated his room with a military theme, including pictures of fighter jets.
If there were any doubts about his career plans, they were erased by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"He wanted in and we supported him," Sharon Mueller said. "A mother always wants to feel her children are safe, but I supported him because Nick wanted that. I thought to myself I would never let him know how afraid I was."
Mueller was outgoing and gregarious, someone who enjoyed debating with his teachers, his mother said. If he had something to say, he would say it, she said.
He graduated in 2002 from Little Chute High School, where he played football and ran track. But his mother said it was in wrestling that he excelled -- dominating an opponent who outweighed him by 55 pounds during one matchup.
Sharon Mueller said her son would be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. She said it was too early to say when memorial services would be held.
"Nick always thought of other people. With
him everybody came first," she said. "He was a very, very giving person.
I think that's what people will remember."
30 October 2009:
DOVER, Delaware — The death Monday of Army Sergeant Nikolas Mueller of Little Chute in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan was a loss for the country as well as his family, President Barack Obama told Mueller's parents, brother and sister-in-law on Thursday.
Obama met individually with Mueller's family and the relatives of 14 other deceased U.S. soldiers at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, in a visit to the base where fallen Americans are returned to the United States.
Mueller, 26, was the helicopter's crew chief, said Elizabeth Lahti of Appleton, whose daughter, Stefanie, is married to Mueller's brother, John.
Mueller will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., alongside a fellow soldier killed earlier in the war, Lahti said.
A memorial service is being planned for early next week at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Combined Locks.
Following his visit, Obama said losses like those sustained on Monday are "something I think about each and every day.
"It was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day, not only our troops, but their families as well."
Soldier who was 'living his dream' recalled at Arlington cemetery
Sergeant Nickolas A. Muller died in Afghanistan helicopter crash
By Yamiche Alcindor
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Monday, November 16, 2009
When Heather Huckett fell in love with Nickolas Mueller, she thought he was too good to be true. He made sure to open doors for her, bought her lavender roses and lilies, and liked spending time cooking and cuddling with her in their apartment in Savannah, Georgia.
"I'd never been in love before, so everything we did together was the most amazing thing in the world," Huckett said. "I knew every morning I would wake up next to him and every night he would come home to me."
The 27-year-old described falling in love with the soldier, whom she met in September 2008, as a whirlwind experience. Monday, she and more than a dozen of his family members and friends gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to say goodbye to her first love, Sergeant Nickolas A. Muller, 26, of Little Chute, Wisconsin. He and six other soldiers were killed Oct. 26 when a helicopter they were aboard crashed in Darreh-ye Bum, Afghanistan.
Five of the soldiers, including Mueller, were from the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne) based at Hunter Army Airfield, in Savannah.
Huckett and Mueller met when he showed up at her family's annual reunion on Tybee Island, off the coast of Georgia. He and her brother were from the same unit.
After the brief meeting, Huckett and Mueller began exchanging e-mails. By March, Huckett's infatuation with the soldier motivated her to move more than 2,700 miles away from her home in San Francisco. After only two days together in Georgia, the couple, then both 26, decided to begin dating and move in together.
She must now return to their Savannah apartment alone. Mueller's clothes still hang in their closet, she said. On Monday, Huckett, in a black dress, sat just feet away from Mueller's silver coffin.
Mueller joined the Army in June 2004. After basic training, he continued to individual training and served with the 252nd Aviation Battalion at Camp Humphries, South Korea, for two years repairing helicopters. In 2007, he joined Special Operations as a flight engineer. He reenlisted in the Army twice and was on his third deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed.
Small toy fighter planes and assorted flight decorations still line Mueller's room at his parents' home in Wisconsin.
"He said his dream was to be a pilot and be in Army forever," his mother, Sharon Mueller said. "He was living his dream. He loved the service. He loved being deployed." Nickolas's father, Larry Mueller, and his grandfather also served in the military.
"He just did everything," Sharon Mueller said of her son, who played football and wrestled, ran track, sang in his school's choir and played the saxophone. "He is one of a kind."
His older brother John Mueller, 29, remembered Nickolas as upbeat. "He was always the one joking around -- always making people laugh," he said.
On Nov. 7, more than a thousand people gathered for a memorial service at Little Chute High School, where Nickolas Mueller graduated from in 2002. Many described the fallen soldier as a generous and a caring person whose willingness to help anyone in need will be sorely missed, his mother said.
Two months before his death, friends and family say he decided to take an early deployment date -- the end of September instead of October -- in order to be home for Christmas. His mother and girlfriend said that he and Huckett had planned to get engaged over the holidays.
Mueller had been in Afghanistan for about a month when the crashed occurred. Despite being thousands of miles away, he had remained close to Huckett and his family. Mueller called his girlfriend every night and his parents at least once a week.
During his last conversation with her, Mueller gave Huckett a subtle warning of the danger of his next mission. Huckett said she asked her boyfriend to warn her if he was going on dangerous missions by saying he would be traveling.
On Oct. 24, she got her final call from him. "He told me he couldn't call for a couple of days and said he had to go 'somewhere,' " she remembered. "He told me that he loved me and told me not to worry about him."
Two days later, he joined the thousands of other soldiers who have given their lives in service. He was laid to rest in Section 60, where most of the casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
"I feel really lucky because I was the girl," Huckett said. "I got to meet and be with the love of my life even though it was short. A lot of people don't get to have that connection."
Posted: 29 October 2009 Updated: 16 November 2009 Updated: 17 April 2010
Photo Courtesy of Eileen Horan, April 2010