Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Army Spc. David A. Croft Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. David A. Croft Jr., 22, of Plant City, Fla.

Spc. Croft was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Jan. 5, 2010 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire.

Growing up in a neighborhood where drugs and crime were prevalent, those who knew David Croft Jr. say he was the exception. The 22-year-old Plant City native, considered a model citizen by friends and family, stayed away from trouble. Croft joined the Army in 2005 soon after graduating from Durant High School.
"He joined the Army to make something out of himself," said his mom, Vicki Croft.

About age 15, he brought his mother three abandoned kittens that needed a home. He even brought a wounded hawk that needed a home, but it had to be taken to the humane society.

"He was my hero, he's always been my hero," said his mother.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 would have been his 23rd birthday.

Croft was about two weeks away from returning home to his fiancée, Susie Clark, said his sister, Robin, 25. He has three sisters and a younger brother.

"That's all he talked about was coming home," said Vicki Croft, who last spoke to her son Saturday. "He was ready to come home."

"He was a very good brother and an even better uncle to nephews and nieces," his sister Andrea Pryor, 29, said.

A 2005 graduate of Durant High School, Croft would stop by regularly to check on Gary and Ethel Hogue, who lived down the street from him. "He's about as fine a young man as I've ever seen," said Gary Hogue, 77. "We thought of him as our own son."

Family and friends say Croft was still mulling over whether he wanted to make a career out of the military. After the Army, he had aspirations of getting into law enforcement and being a part of gang task forces.

"He wanted to make a difference over there (in the war)," said, Jacob Hollifield, Croft's friend and neighbor. "But he wanted to make a difference here, too."

Dannie Sawyer, Croft's uncle who is from the same neighborhood, said Croft was one of the few kids from the area to stay out of trouble and away from drugs.

"He beat this neighborhood," Sawyer said. "And he was doing something with his life."

Croft's decorations and awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon and Army Service Ribbon.

Vicki Croft and two of her daughters, Andrea Pryor, 29, and Robin Croft, 25, an Air Force Reservist, spent Thursday evening in Delaware, awaiting the arrival of David Croft's body at Dover Air Force Base. He also had a 30-year-old sister, Melodie Hanson, and 14-year-old brother, Tyler Croft.

Funeral arrangements haven't been made yet, but Vicki Croft said a service will take place at Shiloh Baptist Church in Plant City. He will be buried with the ashes of his father, David Croft Sr., who died two years ago from heart failure.

Army Spc. David A. Croft Jr. was killed in action on 01/05/10.

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