A Minco soldier and police officer who died in Afghanistan this week was mature beyond his age and inspired his fellow soldiers with his work ethic and leadership, a fellow soldier said Friday. Sgt. Mycal L. Prince, 28, died Thursday after his unit was attacked by insurgents with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades in the Saygal Valley in Afghanistan. Prince is the 11th member of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to die in Afghanistan since July 29, and the 12th Oklahoman overall to die in that time period. Prince leaves behind a wife and two daughters. Family members said Friday they were not yet ready to talk about his death. He was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry. Dustin Stowell, 27, of Chickasha, served in Prince’s company for three years. The two deployed together to Iraq in 2008. Stowell is no longer a member of the Guard. “He was the guy that helped recruit me into the National Guard four years ago,” Stowell said. “He was an outstanding leader. He did everything to be the model soldier.” Stowell said he looked up to Prince, and joined the Guard after hearing his stories about helping with recovery efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “I guess I missed the part where it sucked, and it smelled bad,” Stowell said. “All I heard was him make what sounded like a crappy situation sound like a lot of fun. I was hooked. If it hadn’t have been for him, a part of me wouldn’t be the person I am today. He helped me cross that bridge from being a 22-year-old kid who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life to be someone who knew what he wanted out of life. He encouraged me to be something beyond myself.”
‘He had things together’In his civilian life, Prince was a police officer in Minco. Police Chief Phil Blevins said he had been on the force for 2 years. “When I became police chief here in Minco, he was the first officer that I hired,” Blevins said. “He was one of the most professional and squared away young men I’ve ever met. He had things together in his family life, in his professional life. It’s unbelievable for a man who is 28 how mature he was in all areas of his life.” Stowell noticed the same qualities serving with Prince in the Guard. Another member of their company, 1st Lt. Damon Leehan, 30, of Moore, died in action Aug. 14. Stowell said soldiers like Prince and Leehan made A Company tight-knit. “They were men you wanted to follow,” Stowell said. “They were men you wanted to model your life after. They were good-hearted people who had the talent to lead people and motivate them and encourage them in a way that was going to benefit your life.” In Minco, Prince served as a K-9 officer. Along with his dog, Bayca, he helped with drug interdiction in the town. “He was instrumental in getting lots of drugs off the street,” Blevins said. “He always did his job thoroughly. He was so good and so professional. I’ve been counting the days down for him to get back, and I’m just heartbroken over this.” Prince was a 2001 graduate of Ninnekah High School. Joe Macom, one of his teachers, said even as a teenager Prince was driven. “He was a challenging student because he was very inquisitive,” Macom said. “I taught him world history and Spanish, and he was all the time peppering me with questions. He was very polite and respectful. You would hope you had a whole class full of guys like him.” As an adult, Prince was quiet but tactful and humble about being both a police officer and a soldier, Stowell said. Blevins said his demeanor served him well as an officer. “He was real laid-back and quiet, but one who would always help,” Blevins said. “He was the first one to be there if you needed help and the last one to leave. I know he loved his country and served with pride. We talked at length numerous times about his job with the military. He was proud to be a soldier and a cop.” Stowell said next to his family, Prince totally devoted himself to being a police officer and a soldier. “Sgt. Prince served his nation and this great state for more than a decade with honor and distinction,” Maj. Gen. Myles L. Deering, Oklahoma’s adjutant general, said in a statement. “He joined the Guard five days after his 17th birthday. I think that says a lot about the kind of man Sgt. Prince was. He deployed to help the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and went to Iraq in 2008. He could have gotten out of the service, but he chose to stay and serve his country.”
NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.