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Young Oregon Army Guardsman Buried With Military

By Master Sgt. Bob Haskell, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 4, 1998 – An Army National Guard recruit was buried with military honors May 26, five days after he was killed in a student's shooting rampage at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore.

Mikael Nickolauson, 17, was a junior and had enlisted in the Oregon Army Guard's 41st Personnel Services Company in Salem three days before his death. He had signed up to become a computer programmer and systems analyst and was planning to begin his military training this summer.

More than 900 people, including 75 National Guard troops, packed the Eugene Christian Fellowship Church for the afternoon service. Military buglers played "Taps" beside the flag-draped coffin. Nickolauson was buried in Eugene, Ore.

He was the second of four children born to Dawna and SSgt. Michael Nickolauson, a 14-year Oregon Army Guard veteran with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry, 41st Separate Infantry Brigade (Enhanced).

"The entire National Guard community is truly saddened by the tragedy at Thurston High School," said Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Oregon adjutant general, who led the National Guard delegation to the funeral. "It really hits home when one of the losses is a new Guard member and when the father of the victim is also a member of the National Guard. We will give whatever support we can to the family to ease their pain during this time of grief."

The alleged 15-year-old assailant has been charged with killing his parents at home, then driving to the high school and firing more than 50 shots in the cafeteria before being wrestled to the floor. Nickolauson was pronounced dead at the scene; a second student died later. Twenty-two others were wounded or hurt.

(Haskell is a writer with the National Guard Bureau.)

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