- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009

FEDERALSBURG, Md. | A 19-year-old Maryland soldier who was one of five killed in Iraq by an Army sergeant at a mental health clinic was remembered Thursday as a strongly loyal family member who excelled at making people laugh and enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Spc. Michael E. Yates Jr.’s love of the outdoors was underscored during the solemn ceremony as a long funeral procession went by vast farm fields on the mostly rural Eastern Shore. It also passed by one of Spc. Yates’ favorite fishing spots, where anglers were taking advantage of sunny skies to cast lures.

Residents of Federalsburg, where Spc. Yates lived, waved flags, held their hands over their hearts and watched as the funeral procession headed toward the Maryland Veterans Cemetery Eastern Shore, where a sign reads: “The price of freedom is visible here.” Along the route, many businesses expressed condolences on signs.

Friends and family grieved during a short ceremony surrounded by graves adorned with small flags.

Spc. Yates’ father, Michael Yates Sr., said love for his son and anger at the continuing war were his chief emotions of the day.

“They need to bring them boys home … it should have been over,” Mr. Yates of Glen Burnie said at the cemetery.

Earlier, mourners filled the Framptom Funeral Home in Federalsburg. The Army awarded Spc. Yates a Bronze Star and promoted him from private first class to specialist.

Spc. Yates was serving as a cavalry scout and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade. He was one of five soldiers fatally shot on May 11 at a mental health clinic on a Baghdad base. Sgt. John Russell has been charged with the slayings.

Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr., Maryland Democrat, introduced a resolution Thursday “expressing sympathy to the victims, families and friends of the tragic act of violence at the combat stress clinic at Camp Liberty.”

“The Eastern Shore lost a native son this month in a senseless act of violence that reminds us all just how horrible war can be,” Mr. Kratovil said in a statement.

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