WEST OCEAN CITY – A young soldier who spent two years of his life in Worcester County died Sept. 6 while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Eighteen-year-old Private Michael Dinterman of Littlestown, Pa. was killed by an improvised explosive device in Kunar province, at Outpost Restropo after just a month in Afghanistan, according to a source close to the family.
Dinterman joined the U. S. Army in January, and was assigned in July to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infranty Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood in Texas.
Prior to joining the military, Dinterman lived with his cousin, Jesse Branson, in Ocean Pines, for almost two years.
“Hearing of his death was devastating,” said Chad Rogers, Greene Turtle West general manager. “He was only an 18-year-old kid…it was a shock.”
Dinterman was an excellent employee and great to work with, according to Rogers.
Joining the military gave Dinterman direction.
“I think the Army was the best thing that ever happened to him,” Rogers said. “I could definitely tell a change in him when he came back to visit after boot camp.”
Military service matured Dinterman, he said.
“He was super excited about going over there and trying to make a difference,” said Rogers.
Eerily, Rogers had just asked Branson, kitchen manager at Greene Turtle West, if he had heard from Dinterman recently on the day he was killed. Dinterman had just e-mailed his cousin and talked about going on patrol.
The Greene Turtle West is planning a memorial for Dinterman, but has not made any plans yet. Rogers said management would take its time and do it right with the Dinterman family’s blessing.
“There’s definitely going to be something hanging here to remember him by,” Rogers said.
Dinterman was posthumously promoted to Private First Class. He was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal, for heroism, at his funeral on Monday, Sept. 16. He will also receive the Combat Infantry Badge, a Purple Heart, and a Good Conduct Medal.
During his short service, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
and the Army Service Ribbon.
“He was an awesome kid. He did a great thing for our country,” Rogers said. “He’s definitely a hero.”