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Marine killed in Afghanistan had dreamed of long motorcycle ride

Marine Cpl. Michael Dutcher was dreaming of a cross-country motorcycle ride from Camp Pendleton to his hometown of Asheville, N.C., once his battalion returned from Afghanistan.

Dutcher "wanted to see some of the country he had spent the last four years fighting for," the Asheville Citizen-Times wrote after interviewing his family.

There were other plans too. He was engaged to be married. He was planning to go college and maybe become a history teacher.

None of those plans will come true.

CALIFORNIA'S WAR DEAD: Marine Cpl. Michael Dutcher

Dutcher, 22, was killed Thursday during a foot patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan. His flag-draped casket arrived at Dover Air Force Base on Saturday.

He graduated from high school in June 2007 and immediately shipped out to Marine boot camp. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan and had received three Bronze Stars.

"He was loving and caring," Dutcher's mother, Teresa, told the Asheville paper. "He was an awesome dude."

Dutcher's funeral is set for Friday in Asheville.

He was the 10th Marine from the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment killed in Afghanistan, according to the independent website www.icasualties.org. The battalion is assigned to the Sangin district, long a Taliban stronghold.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: The casket of Cpl. Michael Dutcher arrives at Dover Air Force  Base (Del.). Credit: U.S. Air Force


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