Michael Koch was born on May 12, 1978, on Offutt AFB, Nebraska. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 29, 1998, and went on active duty to begin basic training on July 29, 1998. Koch completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in September 1998, and then completed Operations Specialist training at Fleet Combat Training Center, Atlantic, at Dam Neck, Virginia, from September to December 1998. He attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from January to August 1999, followed by Basic Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in September and October 1999. His first assignment was with SEAL Team EIGHT at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from October 1999 to October 2001, and then with Naval Special Warfare Unit TWO at Stuttgart, Germany, from October 2001 to April 2002. Petty Officer Koch then served with SEAL Team TEN at NAB Little Creek from April 2002 to April 2004, followed by service with Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck, Virginia, from April 2004 until he was killed in action in Iraq on February 4, 2008. Michael Koch was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His 2nd Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as an Assistant Assault Team Leader for a Joint Task Force in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 12 April 2007 to 12 July 2007 and 10 January to 4 February 2008. During these periods, Chief Petty Officer Koch repeatedly displayed extraordinary battlefield courage while conducting numerous direct action and special reconnaissance missions against known terrorist members. He was directly involved in operations that resulted in the elimination and capture of several enemy and the recovery of multiple arms caches. As the sensitive site exploitation team leader, his on-site analysis led directly to successful follow-on operations against an elusive enemy. On 4 February 2008, Chief Petty Officer Koch maneuvered himself into an offensive fighting position and engaged enemy combatants attempting to shield themselves with non-combatants. He then led an entry team aggressively pursuing the enemy in an operation that was critical to denying the enemy safe haven. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Chief Petty Officer Koch reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.