KABUL, Afghanistan – Army Master Sgt. Michael B. Riley, who called St. Louis his second home, died Tuesday while in combat near Kabul, Afghanistan. He was 32.
Riley was born in Germany while his father served there but spent much of his time in St. Louis with his large family.
“As far as I know, it was an ambush and two soldiers died in that,” said Janeal Murchison, Riley’s cousin.
Murchison and other family members described Riley as a selfless man.
“I keep seeing condolences coming from his military family,” Murchison said. “He did what he loved. It was his sixth deployment. He was doing what he loved to do. He died for our country.”
The last time Riley was in St. Louis was to bury his brother, who died from sudden heart failure.
His cousin, Tony Riley, said they texted almost daily and that Michael told him he was considering leaving the military but had 7 years left to officially retire.
“He was getting nervous going over there on his sixth deployment,” Tony Riley said. “And now at his age, 32, he wanted to settle down and start a family, so I believe he was nervous this time.
Riley’s family is still in shock; his mother and father heartbroken to lose their first born.
“Nicest person in the world, if you ask me. Anything you needed, Micheal was there for you,” Tony said.
Riley served in the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Carson, Colorado.