Sergeant Michael G. Owen, a soldier from Phoenix, was killed in action in Iraq on October 15th, 2004 in a car-bomb explosion near the Syrian border.

Owen was killed along with another psychological operations soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C. — Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, 22, of Bellingham, Wash.

Their vehicle was attacked “while conducting vehicle-mounted loudspeaker operations with the 1st Marine Division,” according to a statement from the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

Owen was the leader and Santos was a member of a three-man team. The third member was wounded in the attack, the special operations command said.

Owen and Santos were sent to Haiti last March in support of a U.S.-led interim force deployed to calm the violence that led to the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Both soldiers were deployed to Iraq in September.

Owen joined the Army in 1992 and completed the psychological operations specialist course at Fort Bragg in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Crystal, of Fayetteville, and his parents, Howard Owen and Kay Hutchinson of Arizona.

Family members said Owen had a passion for law enforcement and was living out his dreams in the Army, where he found camaraderie with other soldiers and received a real-world education.

“He took pride in everything he did and he loved his job. He got where he wanted to be because he worked hard at it,” said Glenn Owen, Michael’s father.

During his tenure in the Army, Michael Owen served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Haiti before he was sent to Iraq six weeks ago.

Owen spoke four languages, including French and Bosnian, and met his wife of three years at Fort Bragg.

“He was quiet, he was reserved, he was modest and he was humble. He was always so respectful of anyone he came in contact with, never boasted about what he was doing,” Gary Owen said of his nephew. “We could all take lessons from him.”

Family and friends spread Michael Owen’s ashes on the peak of Lookout Mountain in north Phoenix, a wish he expressed to his wife before heading to Iraq.