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Old 03-30-2007, 12:23 PM
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LCpl David Burton Houck, USMC, 25, Winston Salem, NC (Iraq)

Arlington National Cemetery

David Burton Houck
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps

Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Marine on 2nd tour dies in Iraq
Memorial service for lance corporal to be held Sunday in Mooresville

Bob Houck believes more than ever that the fight for the Iraqis' freedom must go on.

"I feel that any place worthy of shedding my son's blood is a place that's worth doing the right job for," said Houck, 57, of the Mooresville area.

His son, Lance Corporal David B. Houck, 25, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, died Friday while fighting in Iraq's Anbar province, the Department of Defense said. Houck was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune.

Bob Houck said he knew what to expect when he saw Marines in full dress uniform knocking on his door in the Millbridge community north of Mooresville.

He used to have the same job, he said, when he was in uniform himself. The elder Houck spent a career in the Navy working as an electronic technician senior chief and later as second in command in Arkansas.

"It's really hard to do when you see the sorrow and grief that families are going through," he said.

Bob and Beth Houck deal with their grief by remembering the funny songs they invented for David and his four siblings to help them fall asleep at night.

They also remembering how happy they were in February 2002, when David Houck called and asked if they could store his belongings.

He was joining the Marines.

"I was overjoyed," Houck said. "He had no direction. He had been floundering and working at UPS at night and delivering furniture during the day, wearing himself out."

The Marine Corps was a good fit for his son, Houck remembers thinking. David Houck knew right from wrong and had a strong sense of duty, he said.

In February 2003, Houck left Camp Lejeune for the Iraqi coast. His son fought at the airport in Mosul and helped quell riots, surviving on one meal a day, Bob Houck said.

According to The Associated Press, in the midst of the airport battle, Houck found a rose growing among the rubble. He enclosed petals from the flower in a letter he sent his mother.

In his letter, he wrote: "It seems strange that beauty can be found in the midst of chaos."

In later e-mails, he discussed how he had killed others.

"I've actually killed a couple of people," he wrote, according to The Associated Press report. "It's kind of strange how something that I've been trained to do can sit so heavily on my mind."

David Houck returned to Camp Lejeune in October 2003 and trained in urban warfare.

In June 2004, he was deployed again to Iraq.

With that kind of training, which focuses on fighting in tight spaces, the family knew their son would likely face situations where he could be injured or killed.

"We were hoping that wouldn't be true, but that's just reality," his father said. "We are both confident that David is in heaven and that we'll see him again.

"That's really what sustains us through the day."

A memorial service for David Houck will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Peninsula Baptist Church in Mooresville.

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Thu, Dec 9, 2004
Farewell to a fallen hero
Lance Corporal David Houck buried at Arlington National Cemetery
By Rose Post
Courtesy of the Salisbury Post

Surely the tears have fallen. The promises been made and made again. The promises to remember and to love him always and to see him again in his Father's house.

No stranger, no reporter, no photographer, no curious on-looker from afar needed to be close enough to the grave site to hear the words that were said when Lance Corporal David Houck, the son of Bob and Beth Houck of Millbridge, was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon as the sun prepared to set on Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in the nation's capital.

An escort of young Marines lifted the casket holding Houck's body from the hearse, after a ceremony at Fort Myer Chapel, and brought it with perfect military precision to his final resting place for his last goodbye from about 50 family members and friends who drove hundreds of miles to be there.

The message couldn't be hidden from reporters and photographers, who had to stand some 50 yards away to witness the solemn ceremony, any more than the world itself could mistake the pride his family had in a son who'd given his life for his country on a foreign battlefield.

They believe David, the middle son of Bob and Beth, was probably one of two soldiers killed on November 26, 2004, in Iraq, though the official government spokesmen who brought the couple the news nearly a week ago knew only that he was gone.

The family still has not received any information about how David died.

His unit the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 11th Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune was in Fallujah, and two Marines were killed in house-to-house fighting on the day their son's life ended.

Eventually, they know, they'll get the details.

But for now? For now, they had to tell him goodbye.

They'd already greeted hundreds of family and friends at a funeral service Sunday at Peninsula Baptist Church on Brawley School Road in Mooresville.

At that service, 25-year-old David was remembered as a loving son and brother who died doing something he was strongly committed to protecting the United States.

His oldest brother, Rob, told the overflow crowd gathered there that David decided to enlist in the Marines following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"David saw something wrong and wanted to do something about it," Rob said.

Doing it, he became the fifth soldier killed in that war who had close connections with Rowan County and this county's first native son.

And the dignity with which the burial ceremony was conducted Wednesday as well as the place where it took place said clearly that his country is grateful and will remember.

You can't doubt that when you drive through the gates into Arlington National Cemetery, into what looks and feels like a sea of graves in front of you, behind you, on all sides.

His family and friends came not only from Rowan County but also from and Florida and California. His parents and his two sisters and two brothers and nephews and aunts and uncles and their children were here.

And it was no wonder, said his aunt Judy Halas, "because this is our family cemetery."

She could count 10 in their immediate family who will wait for eternity at Arlington National Cemetery and more than that number will be there when a few years have passed.

And maybe most importantly, his daughter, Chloe Houck, was there, in a stroller pushed by her mother, Amanda, and accompanied by her grandmother, Sandie Padjo.

The service in the chapel didn't last long.

Possibly not as long as the service at the graveside, which followed a procession on Douglas MacArthur Drive with the Pentagon in the background.

The cemetery set up 10 chairs for family members, and others gathered round to hear a few words from the chaplain, Lieutenant Commander Harold Palmer, and watch the honors ceremony carried out by the U.S.Marine Crops Ceremonial and Guard Company, headquartered in Washington.

Standard honors at Arlington means that a precision-trained team of pallbearers as well as a Marine Corps firing party, a bugler and a flag that covered the casket and a second flag that had been carefully folded into a triangle by Sergeant David Brown of the Inspector-Instructor Office in Charlotte.

One was given to David's mother and the other, the one folded by Sergeant Brown, to his daughter.

And Brown pointed out, during the moment he was able to speak to news crews from the Salisbury Post, the Washington Post and wire services, that the flag the Marines folded during the service was a team effort.

"They all had hands on it at once," he said. "They were always touching the flag and always touching the casket."

And he looked toward the honors guard seven Marines lining up with their rifles as they fired the three rounds that made it a 21-gun salute.

The sun was hanging low in the sky. Planes from Reagan International Airport cut through an azure blue sky as though to say goodbye.

And a far-away bugler raised a trumpet to his lips to play the traditional and haunting "Taps."

Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright,
From afar drawing nigh.
Falls the night.

Dear one rest!
In the west
Sable night lulls the day on her breast;
Sweet goodnight! Now away, to thy rest.
Love, sweet dreams!
Lo, the beams

Of the light fairy moon kiss the stream.
Love, goodnight! Ah, too soon! Peaceful dreams!

The burial service for David Houck the 103rd Iraqi Freedom funeral at Arlington National Cemetery was over.

But more are coming.

On the day David was buried, the Department of Defense announced the names of five other Marines supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom who died on the day Lance Corporal David Houck gave his life for his country.
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 03/11/2002 - 11/26/2004
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/10/1979
DATE OF DEATH: 11/26/2004
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