ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP -- A soldier whose last name is well known in the Ashtabula area has been killed in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense confirmed Tuesday that U.S. Army Private First Class Michael Metcalf, 22, of Boynton Beach, Florida, died Sunday night in east Afghanistan after the vehicle that he was riding in ran over an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).
His father, C.J. Metcalf, dropped off his only son just last year to enlist in the Army.
"He respected it. He thought it was manly," C.J. Metcalf told WKYC. "He was a boy who thought it was a challenge. That's why he rode the bulls. He got hurt, he would get right back up."
Metcalf was born in Florida, but spent a good deal of time in recent years in Ashtabula. He attended Park Vista Community High School in Lake Worth, Florida, before leaving to enroll at the St. John Military Academy in Wisconsin.
He lived with his mother Kim Metcalf in Florida, but actually worked two summers for his uncle, Anthony Metcalf, at Metcalf Glass on Center Street in Ashtabula. He stayed about one year with his father in Ashtabula Township.
PFC Metcalf struggled to stay alive for two hours after his vehicle hit the roadside bomb, his father said. "It was just too much," he said.
The Metcalf family was among the area's early settlers, having come from New Hampshire around 1860, a family member said. Michael Metcalf's great-grandfather Clarence Metcalf was shot down on his final mission in World War II.
A portrait of the great-grandfather hangs in home of C.J. Metcalf in Ashtabula Township. Michael's aunt Sandy Bennett drew it in honor of her ancestor and will now draw a similar portrait of Michael to be displayed in a place of honor next to the W.W. II hero.
"He really looks a lot like him," Bennett said, "and ironically he made the same sacrifice."
Clarence Metcalf was an Air Force gunner and flew many missions during the Second World War.
Michael Metcalf had been in Afghanistan only a couple weeks when he died. His father says he made his country and his family proud.
"He did what he wanted to do and i respected him for that," C.J. Metcalf said, fighting back tears. "I couldn't be prouder, but the loss hurts. It is so hard to let go of somebody you love."