Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Army Pfc. David A. Drake

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. David A. Drake, 21, of Lumberton, Texas

Pfc. Drake was assigned to 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; died Sept. 28, 2011 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Pfc Drake graduated Lumberton High School in 2008. After graduation, he attended Lamar Institute of Technology, receiving his certificate for Fire Protection Technology.

He loved football and was a volunteer firefighter before joining the Army in January 2011. He graduated Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training as part of Company C, 31st Engineer Battalion and graduated in May before moving to the 5th Engineer Battalion to serve as a combat engineer in the 515th Sapper Company in June. He deployed to Afghanistan in July.

Pfc. Drake had only been in the Army for eight months. He was killed nine days before his 22nd birthday.

Brother, William, who was also serving in the Army , had been home on leave when he heard the devastating news, an IED over 200 lbs. had killed his brother and two others.

"Got a call saying there was two people in military uniforms. I rushed to the house. I kinda knew. It really didn't sink in till they actually told me the new," he said.

"I believe he was doing what he wanted to do. For him it was pride serving our country. Serving the people. Keeping our freedom," said William.

Mother, Tommye Clark-Rivers, "He was fun. He was my serious child but he was fun-loving. He was a good boy. Just somebody you'd be proud of. Since he was in grade school or junior high, he wanted to be in the military and then be a cop."

"Means a lot for us to be out here," said 1st Lt. Aaron Peterson. "Obviously want to honor one of our fallen brothers."

"It's...hard to see the family and how they're hurting. But he was proud to serve his country and we are proud to serve our country," said Peterson.

"I really felt like I needed to come and respect him and show him how much I loved him," said longtime friend Courtney Northcutt. She graduated with Drake from Lumberton High School in 2008. She says he'd be thankful for all the community support.

"He would be overjoyed. He was a very loving person and everyone loved him that knew him. He was a really great person."

"It is probably the most support I've seen anywhere I've been. So this is, it's really nice to see everyone come out to support him and his family," said Peterson.

"On that fateful day, David lost his life for us," said Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein at the funeral.

"He was a son, a brother, a brave hero who lost his life for our country and our way of life. Our fond memories and heartfelt words of sympathy never fully relieve the grief of your loss of David."

Friend, Betty Pender Oliver, said he was a, "Wonderful, wonderful person. He put anybody before himself. He believed and wanted to do something with his life. Just making this world a better place the best way he could."

Pfc Drakes's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
National Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Action Badge

Pfc Drake was laid to rest on October 11 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Pfc Drake is survived by his mother and step-father, Tommye Ann and Steve; father, David; brother, PFC William Terence; sister, Tori; grandparents, Sissy and Herbert Clark.

Army Pfc. David A. Drake was killed in action on 9/28/11.

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