Holly Springs, N.C. - Caretaker to bomb-sniffing dogs in Iraq, Army Capt. Michael S. Fielder, DVM, died last month after serving nearly a year in Iraq.
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — Caretaker to bomb-sniffing dogs in Iraq, Army Capt. Michael S. Fielder, DVM, died last month after serving nearly a year in Iraq.
Early morning on Sunday, Aug. 19, in Baghdad, Iraq — late Saturday night in North Carolina — Fielder, 35, called his wife of nine years, Mary. Just finished with a run, he said he was heading to the showers. He was found later in his quarters.
Though believed to have died of natural causes, an autopsy was scheduled at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to confirm the cause of Fielder's death.
"He was a very kind and compassionate man. He was a good cook, and he always had a joke, whether you wanted it or not," says Fielder's mother, Janet King, of Lexington, N.C. "He touched a lot of lives. He was a good friend, a wonderful son and a very loving husband. I'm proud to be his mom."
A graduate of North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, which he attended on an Army scholarship, Fielder was due to be discharged in November, according to published reports.
Holly Springs officials ordered all flags in town to be flown at half-staff Aug. 22-24 in honor of Fielder, who joined the Army in June 2000 after previous Navy service from 1990 to1994.
He was assigned to the 248th Medical Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 44th Medical Command, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C. Upon his return from Baghdad, Fielder planned to go into private practice.
"He was very passionate about taking care of animals. It started when he was 8 years old. Our house was the one with all the dogs and cats, mice, gerbils and birds," King says.
He leaves behind his current collection of beloved pets — Buckethead, a Pit Bull-Rottweiler mix; Haley, a Rottweiler; and Frankie, a domestic long-haired cat.
In memory of his love for animals, Fielder's family is setting up a veterinary-school scholarship in his honor.
Fielder was a health-conscious runner with no previously known health problems, according to published reports.