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.

Spc. Dennis Weichel (Courtesy: Rhode Island National Guard)

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.

Comments (16)
  1. Proud Patriot says:

    What a guy!

    Soldiers like Dennis are truly making a difference in this world.

    I hope that his family and friends find solace in the fact that he died a hero.

  2. Proud Military American says:

    A true American Hero! As a fellow American, I’m at a loss for words at this human beings act of heroism! God Bless him, his fiance, children, family and God Bless America!

  3. gregsaucier says:

    WOW, A HERO INDEED. Rest in peace, Dennis.

  4. red2429 says:

    I have been there. No Afghan child is worth one life given by our soldiers. I commend him but he should have let her die. Afghans are the most corrupt people in the world. Now we will pay the family thousands of dollars in martyr money because they failed to be parents and keep there children out of the way.

    1. Rob Cleary says:

      Spot on soldier.

    2. Real Patriot says:

      I don’t think he thought he was going to be killed but I understand your point. We gave it our all over there and it seems like only 2% of the population is interested in making a better life for their countrymen.
      The afghan people are psychologically not ready to enter the 21st century. Most likely the result od decades of war.

      1. Truthmom says:

        Obviously. Look at the psychological damage to the above poster “Red2429”. Years of war will turn you into a callous inhuman individual. Whatever experiences you had over there in the sandbox with the Afghani adults is one thing, but children are not born bigots. They are not born martyrs, extremists, racists, or terrorists. Leave the children out of it. That little girl absolutely deserved to be saved…no child deserves to be hit by a truck! I am only saddened to hear that 3 children here in America lost their father. I hope they take faith in knowing that he was a REAL hero.

    3. j says:

      What if jesus would have said that before he died on the cross for all are sins . That we are not worse dieing on the cross for

  5. petem says:

    What a selfless act! Rest in Peace, you set and example by you’re deeds and we’re proud of you!

    To the people who can take any situation to pile on and use it as a way to spread their hate, I am sorry for you that you are so incapable of human empathy. Very sad…

  6. patti says:

    God is always paying attention! God Bless you Dennis!

  7. fellow american says:

    Please show your support on the page created to honor his act of bravery:

  8. Lieut Dan's Aunt says:

    spc weichel, you are a true hero. regrettably, another of new england’s children taken from those who loved him far to deepest condolences to his family and friends. hopefully at least 1 afghani citizen saw this act of selflessness in saving a young girl, and not hate on all americans. a nephew served 2 iraq tours, and i know the gamut of emotions that the family and friends of this brave young man. the saddest 2 pieces of music – bagpipes playing “going home,” and a bugler sounding “taps.” i mourn your loss. rest in peace dennis.

  9. 1stackmack says:

    true hero.