A 34-year-old Waterbury native was killed when a shell hit the Humvee he was driving in Afghanistan last Monday. Spc. Dennis Pratt had only been deployed six months earlier and was planning a two-week trip home to Oklahoma.
“A shell hit in front of him, then another shell hit behind him. There was no place for him to go. The third shell hit the Humvee and tore it in two,” the Pratts told the Duncan Banner newspaper.
Three others were killed with him, they said, the youngest was 19.
“Dennis wasn’t supposed to be at that place at that time, but he always told us that the Army and serving his country was where he wanted to be. He had found his niche in life in the military,” his mother said.
A few hours before his death, he had called his wife Michelle and told her he was packed and would soon be heading home for two weeks. He was heading on a mission outside the safety of his home base, and told her he would call her as soon as he got back to the base.
Michelle told him that she and the boys were anxious to see him and the refrigerator was full of food for when he was home on leave.
Her last words to him were, “Take care.”
Pratt graduated from high school in Southington and lived in several states before relocating to Texas, where he joined the United States Army. He was stationed at Fort Drum, New York.
Pratt was a Private first class at the time of his death and was been promoted to the rank of specialist.
He is survived by his wife Michelle; three children, Collin Kessler, Gabrielle Pratt and Caden Bryant; his parents Jim and Sinammon Pratt; his mother and father-in-law Fred and Margaret Bryant; his brother, Jim Pratt and his wife Staci and their children Miranda, D.J. and Morgan; his brother Kyle Hansan and wife Nicole and their daughter CaLista; and his stepsister Leanna Pratt. His mother, Lori, is deceased.