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Fallen soldier enjoyed work as military police officer


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POSTED: Saturday, March 28, 2009

Raphael Futrell wasn't your typical 20-something.

“;He did things around the house every time he would come home on leave,”; single mom Vicki Futrell said of her younger son. “;He'd clean out my refrigerator, clean out my garage. He'd take care of my dogs.”;

Futrell got a knock on her door at 9 p.m. Wednesday and learned her son, Staff Sgt. Raphael A. Futrell, 26, of Anderson, S.C., won't be going home to visit his mom again.

The Hawaii-based soldier died Wednesday in Baghdad of injuries received in a noncombat-related incident, which is under investigation, the U.S. Department of Defense reported yesterday.

“;He was my baby,”; Vicki Futrell said. “;That was the hardest. That's something I don't want anyone to go through.”;

Sgt. Futrell also is survived by Chance, his 3-year-old son with his former wife, Angela.

The Defense Department has not yet released details on Futrell's death, and his family did not receive any details.

Futrell was assigned to the 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th Military Police Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter.

Futrell loved his job as a military police officer, said his older brother, Capt. Wilson Winters, 37, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and flew in from training at Fort Polk, La., to be with his family.

“;He liked being a police officer, anything that dealt with investigating,”; Winters said. “;He was a dual canine operator - bomb-sniffing dogs and attack dogs. He was certified in both. He enjoyed handling the dogs.”;

Vicki Futrell described him as a good person, kind, attentive and a hard worker.

“;He just liked things to be right,”; she said. “;He was very organized. He loves his grandparents and his family and his son. Anything they needed, he was there for them.”;

Futrell said she will remember the practical gifts he would give her, like the jug for ice water when she worked as a teller.

“;Once when I was sick with the flu, he made macaroni and cheese,”; she said. “;He said, 'This would be good for you,' and that was the best macaroni and cheese.”;

Futrell followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, a lieutenant colonel, and his older brother. Winters enlisted in 1999 after college, and his younger brother followed on July 17, 2001, right after graduating from high school.

Futrell was stationed in Hawaii twice. The first time was in 2001 at Schofield Barracks.

He was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2004 for a year, returned to Fort Belvoir, Va., and came back to Hawaii last November, Winters said.

“;Right before he deployed, he said he wanted to volunteer to go to Iraq,”; Winters said.

Raphael Futrell received an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, six Army Achievement Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.