News: Third Army soldier recalls loss of nephew on American Airlines Flight 11
Story by Staff Sgt. Regina Machine
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Sept. 11 brings somber thoughts to many Americans as we near its 10th anniversary. For one Third Army soldier, Sept. 11 also marks the death of his 21-year-old nephew, whose American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked that fateful morning.
It all started as a normal day when Lt. Col. Mike Pelletier, electronics federal technician with human resources, New Hampshire National Guard, and Goffstown, N.H. native, received a call from his wife. His wife told him that the first plane used in the attacks of the twin towers was the one his nephew, David Dimeglio, boarded earlier that morning.
Dimeglio had just graduated from college in spring 2001 and was looking for a job. He landed a job at a local video store and worked all summer to save up money to visit family and friends in California.
His parents dropped him off that morning. They never saw of him again.
“There was something real strange about her voice and how she told me that Dave was on that flight,” said Pelletier. “It was a real tragedy that a young person in his early 20’s, a college graduate who would never hurt a fly, would lose his life in that type of disaster; a tragedy.”
“He was murdered that day,” Pelletier added.
“It was just terrible for the entire family to lose someone so quickly, violently and in such a horrific manner,” noted Pelletier.
It wasn’t long before Pelletier made the tough decision to find out what he needed to do to re-enter the N.H. National Guard Manchester State Armory, after a nine year break in service. He received a call back the next day, and almost four months later in Jan. 2002, he was sworn back into the National Guard.
The guard he knew had changed, Pelletier remarked. The Guardsmen were no longer the ones who just drilled Friday through Sunday. The guard is now filled with professionalism and camaraderie among those who serve, and with fellow National Guardsmen embracing a level of education and dedication above their status, said Pelletier.
Two years later, he mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom II and now for Operation New Dawn.
“Lt. Col. Pelletier is a true, professional soldier dedicated to the success of our mission,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, 197 Fires Brigade, New Hampshire National Guard and a Manchester, N.H., native.
“Being a member of the services now marks a unique time in our history, and I’m glad to be part of the process,” said Pelletier.
Soldiers like Pelletier, reaffirm Third Army’s commitment to fortifying America’s borders, which extends to more than 20 areas of responsibility. The relationships forged in these interactions build a deep-rooted trust that ensures Americans can continue to thrive in their way of life.
Third Army continues to safeguard democracy and establish domestic tranquility wherever U.S. forces are needed as they persist to honor the past and shape the future with all their endeavors.