Sgt. Michael D. Acklin II was a man of "quiet peace" who dreamed of joining the ministry and hoped to attend Bible college after the Army, said Bishop Michael Ford Sr., his pastor. He "fought the good fight of a soldier and he fought the good fight of faith," Ford said.
"He fought and died trusting in Jesus," Michael Acklin Sr. said of his son. "That was what motivated his life."
Acklin, 25, of Louisville, Ky., died Nov. 15 when two Black Hawk helicopters collided in Iraq. He was stationed at Fort Campbell.
When he''d come home from Army training, it was clear he had matured.
"My husband would always tell his grandson, ''You''re not a man until you go in the service. The service will make a man out of you,''" Barbara Acklin said. "And when Michael entered and when he did come back home, we saw that change."
Acklin is also survived by his mother.