Pearson was also a newcomer to the Army, enlisting about a year before he died.
He loved music, and his goal was to be a music teacher. He excelled at playing the guitar, and could create songs on the spot and show others how to play. Pearson’s platoon leader said he was not just good at the guitar, but “ridiculously good.” His goal to teach was known among his fellow soldiers and he taught some of the guys in the company how to play the guitar, a friend said.
After his death, Pearson’s sister founded Music for Michael, Inc., www.musicformichael.org, a charity that helps distribute musical instruments and provide music lessons to children.
He was working for a furniture company and felt like he wasn’t going anywhere, his mother said, adding Pearson felt he was in a rut and wanted to see the world. Pearson, a native of Bolinbrook, Ill., was assigned to the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade. Pearson was 21 at the time of his death.