Thursday, March 18, 2010

Army Spc Jacob C. Courie

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc Jacob C. Courie, 24 years, of Akron, Ohio, passed away March 18, 2010. Jacob was an Army Specialist serving a second tour in Iraq and was home on two week leave visiting family and friends.

A 24-year-old Iraq war veteran devoted to his friends, his dog and above all his ''baby brother'' died Thursday morning, March 18th, a few hours after being shot near the University of Akron campus.

Jacob C. Courie, 24, of Lake Street in Akron, died from a single shotgun blast that followed a pair of verbal altercations with an unknown man.

An Akron Police Department report stated that the crime was being investigated as an aggravated murder, which makes it eligible for the death penalty. The assailant fled and remained at large, Akron police said.

''He was just super easy to get along with and to know. You couldn't ask for a better guy,'' said Kevin Baughman, who has shared a rented house near Summit Lake with Courie for the past two years. ''You can have friends for 20 years,'' Baughman said, ''but you don't meet a good man like that very often.''

Courie, who was in the Army Reserve, was on leave from service in Iraq, Baughman said. He had been home for only two days of a two-week break when the shooting occurred.

Courie recently had signed up for six more years in the Army and was scheduled to leave April 1 for a new assignment in Afghanistan, Baughman said. Wednesday night, Courie was with his 26-year-old cousin, John D. Moss II. Both wore green Monopoly ''Get Out of Jail Free'' T-shirts for the St. Patrick's Day celebration and were ''just going out to have a couple of beers,'' Baughman said. ''Their family's Irish, and they were just going out to have fun.''

Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards said the men had left the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar and were walking west on the south side of East Exchange Street when Courie and the gunman got into a verbal altercation. A short time later, Courie and the man again exchanged words. Then the gunman fired.

Baughman said detectives told him the weapon was a sawed-off shotgun they believe the assailant had retrieved from a vehicle in the time between the two arguments.

Emergency personnel transported Courie to Akron General Medical Center, where he died shortly after 5 a.m.

''They told us he was basically dead when he got to the hospital, but they were able to revive him and keep him alive,'' Baughman said. ''They operated on him for hours. One of the doctors mentioned to me that they went all out — not that they don't for everybody — when they saw his military tags.''

In their report, police describe the gunman as a black male about 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with a thin beard and goatee. He was wearing wire-rim glasses, a long black leather coat, dark pants and a white hat or skull cap.

Victim was 'good friend'

A 2005 news item in the Beacon Journal said Courie graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, in Columbia, S.C., in 2005.

Britany Schroeder-Bonen, who served with Courie during his first deployment to Iraq in 2006 and 2007, said in an e-mail Thursday that he joined the Army, in part, ''to change his life around, to better himself.'' She said that in Iraq they worked together in a supply yard. ''He was an extremely hard worker,'' she said. ''If something had to get done, it got done.'' Schroeder-Bonen said he ''was a very good friend to all.''

On Sunday, Courie wrote on his MySpace page that he was ''sitting in Kuwait waiting to get a flight home to come home on leave.'' He wrote that his heroes are ''the working man. My big brothers. Soldiers, Airmen, and sailors aka seamen.'' Baughman said Courie was particularly devoted to his 20-year-old brother, Jeremy Davis. The three of them lived together with Courie's mixed-breed dog, Lucy, and Baughman's chocolate Labrador retriever, Bruno.

''Jacob would call from Iraq every week and ask how his 'baby brother' was and how his dog was doing. Every week,'' Baughman said. He said that even the dogs got along well. ''Our dogs hit it off. The two dogs were best friends, inseparable,'' he said.

When Courie got home Monday night, Baughman said, ''he wasn't here for 15 minutes, and he shook my hand and told me: 'My baby brother and the dog look great!' '' Baughman said Courie also had a sister, T.J., from New York, and two other brothers, Jason and Dwayne, from Kenmore. Baughman said T.J. was driving to Akron late Wednesday to see Courie and didn't get the word about him being shot until she got into town. ''They didn't want to tell her on the phone while she was traveling,'' Baughman said.

The plans for Courie's two-week leave were simple, Baughman said. He wanted to relax with his family and Lucy, and to cook steaks on the grill Thursday night, like they did every time he came home, Baughman said. ''He was a good man, a good friend. Jacob was the kind of man that, if he told you he was going to do something, he would do it. No matter what it was, he took care of it,'' Baughman said. ''He was dedicated to his country and his family.''

The man who shot him has been caught and is being held on $1 million bond:

Army spokesman Raymond Gall provided this information about Jacob Carl Courie in an e-mail to the Plain Dealer: "Rank: SPC (E4) promoted to rank in July 2009 Entry Date: March 2005 Enlisted in 8 year contract with Army Reserve. Military Occupation Skill (MOS): 88M - Motor Transport Operator. Operates all wheel vehicles and equipment over varied terrain and roadways for support of combat operations to include the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Transport (HEMETT), Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET), and Palletized Loading System (PLS) vehicles to include performing self-recovery operations. Secondary MOS: 92A - Automated Logistical Specialist. Primarily responsible for supervising and performing management or warehouse functions in order to maintain equipment records and parts. Awards: Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device. Started service as 92A. Served with 209th Quarter Master Supply Company, Lafayette, IN, where he was mobilized in May 2006 to serve in Kuwait and Iraq for a year. In March 2009 he completed training and was awarded MOS of 88M and reassigned to 319th Quarter Master Battalion, Twinsburg, OH. In July 2009 he was ordered to Active Duty Status for 400 days in support of Iraqi Freedom with the 561st Transportation Company, Ft. McCoy, WI. When deployed he was assigned to the U.S. Army Central Command, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. His tour was to be completed in August 2010."

Jacob is survived by his brothers, Jason Davis, Wayne Courie, Jeremy Davis, all of Akron; sister, Teejay (Tomasz) Podstepski of New York City; niece and nephew, Katelyn Bennett and Jeffrey Mc Dermott, special friends, Buck and Vicky, Kevin Baughman, Dave and Betty; cousin, John Moss, his dog, Lucy-fur and numerous other friends and relatives. He is also survived by his mother, Michelle Davis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never really got to know you all that well but I was only a child and didn't ever think you would die. I only recently wanted to know what happened that day and I cried my eyes out because of the fact that such a great person could die in such a horrible way. I'm sure normal society has already forgotten about it but not me, not Jason, and sure as hell none of you're friends and family. I'm sure no one will read this post and frankly that's how I want it. I just wanted to say to you what I should have said a long time ago. I'm proud to have had you as an uncle. And I always will be. R.I.P