Army Staff Sergeant Nickolas A. Mueller died on October 26, 2009 of wounds suffered when the MH-47 helicopter he was aboard crashed in Darreh-ye Bum, Afghanistan. He assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. Six other servicemen were also killed in the crash. Their units were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Staff Sergeant Mueller was twenty-six years old.
Nikolas Mueller was a native of Little Chute, Wis., and volunteered for Army service in June 2004. Following basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced individual training at Fort Eustis, Va., Nikolas served with the 2-52nd Aviation Battalion at Camp Humphries, South Korea. He was a skilled medium helicopter repairer technician. In 2007 he successfully assessed with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and assigned to 3rd Bn., 160th SOAR (A), in Savannah, Georgia where he served as a flight engineer.
He was a combat veteran with three deployments, all in support of the Operation Enduring Freedom. His military training includes the Warrior Leader Course, Special Operations Training Course, and the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course. His awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Basic Aviation Badge.
The first confirmation about the crash was from Nikolas’s family in Little Chute, Wisconsin. His family confirmed he died in the crash a few days before the Department of Defense released information and the names of those lost. Nikolas’s mother noted that her son wanted to be a pilot even when he was a young boy. She said he joined the Army immediately after graduating from high school. This was his third deployment. She also noted that Nikolas was planning on coming home for Christmas that year, 2009. It would have been the first time in three years.
Nikolas Mueller is survived by his parents, Larry and Sharon Mueller, of Little Chute, Wisconsin.
– NIGHT STALKERS DON’T QUIT –
Nick Mueller wanted to be a pilot. As a boy he decorated his room with photos of fighter jets and toy planes. In grade school, he often talked about his dream of earning pilot wings.
He went on to serve in a Special Forces aviation unit and spent more than 400 combat flight hours as a crew chief on a Chinook helicopter. Perhaps it was fitting that Mueller died while flying – in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. It was his third deployment there.
“Nick was living toward that dream. He loved the military,” said his mother, Sharon Mueller. “Nick was making a difference. He was strong, intelligent and achieved everything he went after.”
He loved his motorcycle and his girlfriend, Heather. One of his favorite spots was the beach at Hilton Head Island, S.C. In 2001, during his senior year, his classmates elected him homecoming king at Little Chute High School, where he played baritone saxophone, sang in the choir, and played basketball and football.
He also wrestled and ran track.
Mueller was very proud of the burgundy beret he wore as a Special Forces solider, his mother said, noting the Nick knew that soldiers had to earn the right to wear it.
He was the assistant training noncommissioned officer for his unit, which carries the nickname Night Stalkers. Everything he wrote had the letters “NSDQ” at the bottom. The letters stand for “Night Stalkers Don’t Quit,” a motto Mueller took to heart and made his mission in life.
“Nick made life worth living,” his mother said. “He loved life to the fullest and he died with no regrets.”