Army PFC Joseph A. Miracle, US Army Airborne of the 173rd, Age 22
Ortonville, Mich.

PFC Joseph A. Miracle, US Army Airborne of the 173rd, Vicenza, Italy; died July 5, 2007 of wounds sustained from enemy small-arms fire and indirect fire in the Watapor Valley of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. He was patrolling in a village in the Watapor Valley when his unit came under fire; He gave his life defending his unit.  He had only been in Afghanistan 35 days.

His sister, Jeannette Miracle-Leshan, told the Detroit Free Press, “He was very proud of what he was doing, and we were proud of him, too. We believe he died a hero.”  He was the youngest of seven siblings and “loved being in a big family.”

The Brandon High School graduate was a standout running back for the school’s football team, said principal Michael Ferguson.

“Joe was a good student and an outstanding young man. … You would want to have a whole football team of Joe Miracles,” Ferguson told The Flint Journal. “It’s a loss we can’t describe. … It’s a loss for all of us.”  Ferguson said Miracle was a standout running back for the school’s football team and a leader who was respectful of others.

Miracle decided to join the military in 2006 after attending Oakland Community College.

“I think he missed the camaraderie of the football team, and he loved the physical aspect of it,” said his sister. “He chose the airborne right there in the recruiter’s office.”
Miracle-Leshan said her brother was home for a visit in April before shipping out to Afghanistan. She said he was anxious about the assignment, but felt like he was doing what he’d been prepared to do.

Military officials told Miracle’s family that he would receive several posthumous awards, including a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a NATO medal, his sister said.

Ortonville is located about 37 miles north-northwest of Detroit.
Army PFC Joseph A. Miracle was killed in action on 7/5/07.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  John 15:13