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David B Houck


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.”

David is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


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