GREENWOOD, LA, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, 2D BN 9TH MAR, (RCT- 1, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
11/09/2010, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
Lance Corporal Dakota Huse died earlier this week in Afghanistan. For his family, friends, and fellow students, his life served as an emotional reminder of the price we pay for freedom this Veteran’s Day.
“Too many Americans take freedom for granted. As if no one had ever sacrificed for this great country. As if no one had ever shed their blood,” said Richard Gardner, Louisiana Purple Heart Association President, to Huntington High school students at their Veteran’s Day ceremony.
Students at Huntington High school walked past 19-year-old Huse’s picture Thursday morning. Huse graduated from the school a year and a half ago. His family cried as the choir sang The Star Spangled Banner, and his brother lined up to leave a rose in remembrance.
“Served his country, loved his family, loved his friends, and that’s what meant the most to him,” said his brother, Matthew Phiffer.
The pain and loss still burned fresh as school leaders challenged students to look to this fallen soldier as an example. “I want all of you to leave here with the recommitment to be the best that you can be, because Lance Corporal Huse was the best that he could be. He faced it, straight up, at 19,” said Superintendent Dr. Gerald Dawkins.
Dakota Huse, 19, was going to turn 20 on December 3rd of this year.
Huse, who was single, was stationed at the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He joined the Marines after graduating from Shreveport’s Huntington High School in 2009. He was in the ROTC at Huntington and was a member of the wrestling team, his family said. Huse, who was raised by a single mother, has an older brother and three younger sisters.
It is a quite somber Veteran’s day at Huntington High School as friends and family remember John Hale and Dakota Huse. Handing over pictures and flowers to Huse’s grandmother and aunt, the school pays tribute to the family for the life he lived.
“Cody [Dakota] was like one of mine you know,” said Jami Vergo. “I loved him this has been hard for the family it’s been hard for all of us.”
Close friends are mourning his loss. Dakota made them laugh and now cry. “Growing up with him was a trip. We had fun. We had our times I mean we had our good times and our bad times,” said Brandi Jutze. “I don’t think it’s hit a lot of us that he’s actually gone.”
Through his death he is bringing them all together. “Even though he’s gone he’ll still be here,” cries Matthew Phiffer. “He’ll be with us he was my older brother, I’m going to miss him.” Meanwhile everyone tries to grab understanding of the events that took young Dakota’s life.
Officers met Huse as part of a Junior Explorers program through the Boy Scouts. They said Huse was technically too young to participate but tagged behind his older brother. Officers in the department said Huse made a good impression on them.
“Usually when we get to know people on a first name basis, it’s not a good thing. We knew Dakota on a first name basis for only good reasons,” said Lt. Shayne Gibson.
Marine Lance Corporal Dakota R. Huse was killed in action on 11/09/10.