PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS) – The Pentagon says he died from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. But the truth is 29-year-old Spc. Dennis Weichel Jr. of Providence was a hero.
Weichel, who was a member of the Rhode Island National Guard, was struck and killed by an armored vehicle in Afghanistan March 22.
It wasn’t until Wednesday that the National Guard revealed he died moving an Afghan girl to safety shortly before the accident.
Weichel was in a convoy with his unit in northeast Afghanistan and some children were in the road blocking the vehicles.
When the soldiers got out to move the children, most of them walked away. But one little girl went back to pick up some shell casings.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports
Weichel saw a 16-ton truck bearing down on the girl, so he pulled her out of the way. He ended up getting hit by the truck.
He died a short time later. Weichel was posthumously promoted to sergeant and will be awarded the Bronze Star.
He leaves behind his three children, his fiancee and his parents.
The wake will be Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Olson & Parent Funeral Home in Providence.
His funeral will be Monday.
Weichel will be buried at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter.