April 10, 1982 - April 28, 2008
Soldier from Bay City killed in Iraq
By JOHN BRADEN
BAY CITY – A soldier from Bay City was killed
during enemy fire Monday near Baghdad, Iraq, making him the first
person from Matagorda County to die in the war.
Family and friends who gathered at his mother’s
home on Tuesday remembered David McCormick, 26, as a person who
loved his country, was proud of being a Texan, and taught his
friends overseas about beef jerky.
“He always had an overwhelming sense of integrity
and honor,” said his older sister Kristy Davis.
The 2000 graduate of Bay City High School was on
his second tour of duty in Iraq. He deployed from Fort Campbell,
Ky., in October.
The Army specialist worked as a cavalry scout at
Forward Operating Base Justice in Iraq where he trained Iraqi
soldiers as peacemakers.
McCormick was killed in a rocket attack while at
a forward base near Baghdad. The rockets were launched at the base,
said Phil Reidinger, public affairs officer at Fort Sam Houston in
June McCormick, his mother, learned of his death
Monday in a phone call from the military. The military visited the
family on Tuesday.
Family and church were very important to David,
his mother said.
“He was always very patriotic, loyal and Texas
proud,” she said.
His family said David, the youngest of four
children, had a very strong relationship with each of his siblings.
David and his brother, Will McCormick, joined the
military together in July 2004.
He served in Iraq for a year, before coming home
for a year and then redeployed in October, his mother said.
When he returned home this time, he had planned
to attend Texas State University where he wanted to pursue a
master’s degree in business administration. He also planned to join
the United States Coast Guard, his brother said.
Will, who is a cadet with the ROTC in San Diego,
served for two and half years as a special agent with U.S. Army
“David loved his country and loved learning,” his
mother said. “He always kept himself around people with big minds
and big ideas.”
The McCormick family also said David was always a
“The thing that I remember most about David was
that he took the time to be helpful to a freshman,” said Bryan
Hairell, a freshman at Bay City High School when McCormick was a
senior. “He was a good friend and a good person and I will miss him
Hairell, who is in the U. S. Air Force, said that
what happened to his friend is painful, and he plans to attend the
The funeral services are pending.
The Matagorda Advocate, April 29, 2008 - 11:22 p.m.
Bay City soldier
killed in Iraq
11:38 PM CDT on
Tuesday, April 29,
IRAQ -- A Bay City
soldier was killed
during a rocket
attack in Iraq this
week the Defense
Spc. David P.
Monday from wounds
he suffered after
his base in Baghdad
came under attack.
He was assigned to
Calvary of the 101st
McCormick grew up in
the Matagorda County
town of Bay City,
but was living in
Fresno in Fort Bend
County when he
to Army records.
Flags lowered in Matagorda to honor fallen warrior
CITY – Matagorda County officials have requested that
all flags in Bay City be lowered to half-mast from today
through the evening of David McCormick’s funeral service
McCormick, a Bay City native and an Army specialist, was
the first person from Matagorda County to die in the war
in Iraq. He was killed by enemy fire Monday at Forward
Operating Base Justice near Baghdad.
Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald sent a notice to
county-owned buildings on Wednesday instructing the
employees to lower the flags and urged all residents and
business owners to do the same.
“Our guys are heroes when they leave home to fight in
the war, but when they sacrifice their lives for this
country, the absolute least we can do is lower flags to
honor them,” McDonald said.
McCormick’s mother, June McCormick, learned Monday night
during a visit from Army representative that her son had
died. The representatives returned on Tuesday to be with
her until her family could arrive.
Family and friends who gathered at the McCormick home on
Tuesday said they remembered McCormick as a person who
was always fun to be around and who loved his country.
“He always had an overwhelming sense of integrity and
honor,” said his older sister Kristy Davis.
The 2000 graduate of Bay City High School was deployed
from Fort Campbell, Ky., in October on his second tour
of duty in Iraq. He worked as a cavalry scout training
Iraqi soldiers as peacemakers.
Family and church were very important to David, his
mother, June McCormick, said. He was the youngest of
four children and had a very strong relationship with
each of his siblings, she added.
“He was always very patriotic, loyal and Texas proud,”
Bay City Funeral Home, which will conduct McCormick’s
funeral, said the service will be next week, but the
exact date and time are still pending.
First soldier from Matagorda
County killed in Iraq War flown home
soldier from Bay City and Matagorda County to be killed
in combat in Iraq returned home on Sunday.
Army Specialist David McCormick
arrived by charter jet in a flag-draped casket at the
Bay City Municipal Airport at 9:39 a.m. on Sunday. About
250 to 300 people were at the airport to show their
respects to the soldier killed near Baghdad on April 28.
McCormick’s arrival was met with full
military honors, including Army honor guards from Fort
Sam Houston in San Antonio. June McCormick, mother of
the soldier, was at the airport, as were his brother
Army cadet Will McCormick, sisters Kristy McCormick
Davis and Mary Ann McCormick Davis and other family
Also on hand were Mayor Richard
Knapik, County Judge Nate McDonald, and other City of
Bay City and county officials.
Leaving the airport, a procession
followed the hearse, which traveled north on Farm to
Market Rd 2540 to Van Vleck, and then turned west on
Highway 35 to the Bay City Funeral Home. Bay City
police, Matagorda Sheriffs Office, Bay City Volunteer
Fire Department fire trucks and 50 to 75 motorcycles
from the Patriot Guard escorted the procession.
Along the route, people lined the
road, waving flags. Members of several churches in Van
Vleck and Bay City also stood outside holding flags.
Among mourners at the Wal-Mart
shopping center was retired Navy man Wilson Cupples and
his wife, Norma. She said, “It is just like family.
Very, very sad. I have a grandson in the Army. I know
what it’s like to worry.”
Her husband, with tears welling in
his eyes, said, “He’s my brother.”
Tom Huston from Wadsworth is a member
of the American Legion and also retired military. “I
think he did a wonderful job, and it’s an honor to be
here,” he said.
His wife, Martha, said, “It was just
heartbreaking to hear.”
A Wal-Mart employee, who only wished
to go by Pat, said there were condolence cards at both
entrances to the store for people to sign. They will be
presented to McCormick’s mother.
Bobby Head, who has been volunteering
to hang flags in Bay City and Van Vleck, said that Jay
Hubbard from Power TEC Inc. had donated $1,000 toward
the purchase of more flags.
H-E-B is also trying to get more
flags for the Friday procession. The American Red Cross
(979-245-3056) is taking donations as well.
The funeral service will be held at
the First Baptist Church in Bay City on Friday at 4 p.m.
The public is invited. The funeral procession will
depart from the First Baptist Church at 4th Street and
Avenue F, head north to Highway 35 and proceed to
Roselawn Cemetery in Van Vleck.
Ross Cunningham is a
reporter-photographer for the Matagorda Advocate.
Contact him at 979-244-1330 or email@example.com.
Sharon Howerton is the general manager for the Matagorda
Advocate. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Residents to honor McCormick
Local officials, including Matagorda County
Judge Nate McDonald, are calling for all Matagorda County
residents to line the route of the funeral procession of Cpl.
David McCormick beginning around 5 p.m. Friday, May 9.
“I’m really hoping to see literally thousands of our citizens
lining the funeral procession route in honor of Cpl. David
McCormick Friday afternoon,” said McDonald.
“The price he paid for each one of us is well-deserving of a
show of respect in that magnitude.”
The funeral procession will leave First Baptist Church heading
north on Texas 60, at Texas 35, it will travel east, and it will
turn south on FM 2540 in Van Vleck, ending at Roselawn Memorial
Cemetery in Van Vleck.
Bob Head, local veteran and volunteer coordinator to secure
flags for the Friday funeral, said thousands of flags will be
made available to community members to hold as they line the
“I dropped off about 500 flags at Van Vleck ISD for them to
distribute to the school children and we are really requesting
that their parents will bring them out to line the streets that
afternoon,” said Head.
Bay City’s distribution point for citizens to pick up free flags
is at the Bay City Chamber of Commerce office located on the
east side of the Civic Center.
Head said that he has already collected donations for about 1900
flags and will be making a trip to Houston to try and round up
more flags to possibly distribute at Bay City ISD.
Anyone wanting to make a contribution to the flag fund may do so
by contacting Head at (979) 429-1188.
Bay City Tribune, Published May 7, 2008
A fallen soldier’s heroic return home
By Heather Menzies
The mood at the Bay City Municipal Airport was
somber and respectful as over 400 grateful Americans from Bay City
and surrounding areas gathered to honor the life and great sacrifice
of Cpl. David McCormick when he was returned home from Iraq just
after 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 4.
The crowd watched silently and tearfully as McCormick’s family
gathered around the flag draped casket to be led in prayer by Dr.
Michael Zimmerman, long-time family pastor from First Baptist Church
of Bay City.
An honor guard from Fort Sam Houston was sent to welcome their
fallen comrade home and will be a constant presence by the side of
the casket until McCormick is laid to rest Friday afternoon.
Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald, Bay City Mayor Richard Knapik,
Matagorda County Sheriff James Mitchell and other local and county
officials were on hand with hundreds of citizens to witness
McCormick’s heroic return home.
Many local groups and organizations also were in attendance,
including: Bay City Police Department, VFW Post 2438, Bay City
American Legion Post 11, local Boy Scouts of America troops, Rio
Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross, Midfield Volunteer Fire
Department, Old Ocean Volunteer Fire Department and many others.
As the procession made its way to the Bay City Funeral Home, the
hearse was saluted by veterans lining both sides of the first length
of the airport driveway holding large American flags.
The flag-lined driveway was formed by members of the Brazoria County
Calvary, Ambassadors for Jesus Christ Motorcycle Ministry and other
motorcyclists who joined the group to pay their respects.
Matagorda County Sheriff Department units led the procession north
on FM 2540 to Van Vleck, turned west on Texas 35 and ended at Bay
City Funeral Home on the corner Avenue K and Sixth Street.
The procession was met with community members gathered in their
yards, in parking lots and parked on the side of the road waving
flags, saluting and gathered in prayer to show their pride and
Many churches postponed their services Sunday morning to allow
members to pay their respects.
David’s older brother, Army cadet Leo William “Will” McCormick, III,
said how grateful the family is for the community’s show of support
“We would like to thank each and every individual who showed their
support in witnessing David’s arrival home (Sunday) May 4 at the Bay
City Municipal Airport,” Will said.
According to Will, David was one who learned by listening and he
listened to all those who shared the time to speak with him.
“David was deeply committed to the idea of freedom and that no one
be left behind,” said Will.
“In honor of his spirit the McCormick family wishes to extend our
warmest invitation to any and all who may wish to show their support
for David, our nation, our flag and all those who have sacrificed to
assure freedom rings.”
Visitation for David will be open to the public and hosted by the
First Baptist Church of Bay City Christian Ministries Center located
at 2321 Ave. F.
The public viewing will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 8.
Funeral services honoring David will be held in the First Baptist
Church of Bay City sanctuary at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 9.
Sanctuary seating will be available on first come, first served
basis and attendance overflow will be directed to the Christian
Ministries Center where the funeral will be broadcast on closed
Bay City Police officers will block traffic on Fourth Street between
Avenue F and Avenue H; and on Avenue G from Fifth Street to Third
Street to allow for funeral parking.
Anyone attending the funeral will be allowed in that area and police
officers will direct parking.
There has been a scholarship established in honor of David’s memory.
Anyone who wishes to make a contribution may do so by contacting
First Baptist Church of Bay City at (979) 245-5518.
Checks may be mailed to First Baptist Church Bay City; 2321 Ave. F;
Bay City; TX; 77414 and made payable to the David P. McCormick
“This has been a tremendously difficult time and the consideration
shown by all those present (at the airport) as well as along the
route, proves this nation is one worth fighting for,” Will said.
“May God bless his memory and may God bless you all.”
Bay City Tribune, Published May 7, 2008
‘A TIME FOR
Many in Matagorda County
turn out for soldier’s funeral
BAY CITY – David McCormick dreamed of
the day when terrorism would no longer be a threat.
On Friday, family, friends and
strangers gathered to say goodbye to the war hero who
was killed near Baghdad, Iraq, on April 28 during a
rocket attack on the forward operating base where he was
stationed. He was the first soldier from Matagorda
County to be killed in the Iraq war.
Students and teachers stood in front
of Van Vleck High School, and thousands of residents
lined the seven-mile stretch of highway from Bay City to
the cemetery in Van Vleck, waving American flags.
This was the 26-year-old Army
corporal’s second tour of duty in the war where he
worked to train Iraqi soldiers to be peacekeepers.
“I have two sons in the Marines. One
just got back from Iraq and the other is stationed in
Japan,”said Karen Garza, who watched the funeral
procession with her family in the parking lot of Dollar
Tree in Bay City. “I feel for the mom and what she is
going through. We are here to show support for the
family and our troops.”
Regina Densmore stood in front of the
Van Vleck High School with family and friends, holding a
large U.S. flag.
“I was really touched by the support
from the different police and fire departments that took
part in the motorcade,” Densmore said. “They had police
cars from Matagorda County and the neighboring cities of
Freeport, Needville and Brazoria.”
Besides the law enforcement, fire
departments, medical staff and military personnel, more
than 100 motorcyclists from the Motorcycle Ministry and
Patriot Guard, among other groups, were present to show
He was buried with full military
honors, including a 21-gun salute, at Rose Lawn Memorial
Park in Van Vleck. Brig. Gen. James Gilman presented his
mother, June McCormick, with the American flag that
draped her son’s casket.
A short time earlier, McCormick’s
family – including his mother and older brother, Army
Cadet Will McCormick – other family members and about
150 residents filled the First Baptist Church in Bay
City for his funeral service.
Will McCormick said that his brother
had always dreamed heroic dreams.
“David and I used to dream of a day
where terrorism was no longer a threat. We thought to
ourselves, could we solve this problem?” he said during
his eulogy. “The answer was always a powerful and
emphatic, ‘Yes we can.’”
Will described his brother as someone
who was brave, strong, courteous, smart and kind. All
citizens of this great country have a right to dream
heroic dreams, he said.
“Anyone who says we live in a time
where there are no heroes, doesn’t know where to look,”
he continued. “You can see them everyday…Some wear
uniforms, some wear office casual, some wear overalls
and some wear rugged clothing.
“They work hard and create new jobs,
wealth and opportunity. … Their patriotism is quiet, but
its deep,” he said.
Will McCormick also commended
community members for representing the solid moral
values that were taught to David and himself growing up
in Bay City.
These values “sustain our way of
life. They ensure peace in a time of global conflict and
sustain hope in a winter of anxiety and fear,” he said.
“This is a time for American heroes. … God bless David,
God bless his memory, God bless you, and may God bless
the United States of America.”
John Braden is a
reporter/photographer for the Matagorda Advocate.
Contact him at 979-244-1330 or email@example.com or
comment on this story at
A final salute to Cpl. McCormick
A powerful organ and piano
duet of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” played as guests packed First
Baptist Church of Bay City while outside, thousands of Matagorda
County residents lined the funeral procession route with flags
raised, hands over their hearts and tear-filled eyes Friday
afternoon for the funeral and interment with full military honors of
Cpl. David Phillip McCormick.
Brigadier General James Gilman, Brooks Army Medical Center at Fort
Sam Houston commanding general, began his presentation of
McCormick’s awards by saying a few words on behalf of McCormick.
“I want to start by thanking this church, Brother Mike, the city of
Bay City — I have to do this too often,” said Gilman.
“I’ll tell you that the show of support for this family and show of
support for this nation that exists within this church, and as you
will see all around you as you leave, is unparalleled in my
“I read through the remarks of David’s battle buddies and commanders
that were said in a memorial service held for David in Iraq,” Gilman
“The words should be a source of pride and comfort for those close
“ ‘Can do attitude,’ ‘quiet professional,’ ‘infectious smile,’ ‘one
that generals always look for,’ ‘the type of soldier leaders love to
have,’ ‘always did what was needed without complaint,’ ‘a level of
responsibility not common in soldiers of his age and experience,’”
are a few of the phrases Gilman quoted from McCormick’s peers in
Gilman also told of the honor and responsibility placed on McCormick
as his Command Sergeant Major’s driver.
“That’s a very prestigious position for a young soldier,” said
You are on display all the time — only the steadiest, only the
calmest under pressure are going to be the command sergeant major’s
driver and you’re only going to keep doing it as long as you keep
your head in the game,” Gilman said.
“David must have been an incomparable soldier and we are very proud
of his service,” said Gilman.
Gilman and Master Sergeant Roy Simon presented McCormick’s mother,
June McCormick — with the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
David’s older brother — Army Cadet Leo William “Will” McCormick, III
— gave the eulogy that honored David as a brother, as a person and
as a soldier.
Will told how David, as the youngest of his siblings, was favored by
his father — Leo William McCormick, Jr. — as a child and how the two
were best friends — sharing hobbies such as history, British cars
and the same movies.
Will said David’s faith in Christ is part of what made him a soldier
— quoting scripture saying that God gave us victory over sin and
“The terrorists were successful only in removing David physically,”
“He is in the Kingdom of heaven and possesses remarkable strength,
cunning and skill.”
“David was given much, and of him all was required,” Will said.
Will explained that David ‘dreamed heroic dreams’ — planning both to
attain a Masters Degree of Business Administration and of becoming a
commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves.
Will said David joined the Army after the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001.
Will said that just as the heroes of that attack faced the fire to
help save others, David had done the same.
“David raised his hand, swore and oath and embarked on a journey to
help others out — he ran into the fire,” said Will.
As Will finished his stirring eulogy he left the pulpit, faced
David’s casket and saluted before having a seat.
The funeral service included two congregational hymns — “Amazing
Grace” and “America the Beautiful” — a choral feature of “Canticle
of Hope” and scripture reading in II Corinthians chapter four were
also part of the services.
The graveside service with full military honors at Rose Lawn
Memorial Park in Van Vleck included a 3-volley salute, taps and the
flag on the casket ceremoniously folded and given to the family.
Published May 12, 2008
Bay City soldier's mom: A study in grace
In keeping with the “theme” of my column — beauty
on display — I wanted to take the time to honor a woman and her
family who has suffered much grief over the past couple of weeks and
yet displayed more grace and serenity than is understandable.
Mrs. June McCormick is a lady that I had not had the pleasure of
knowing before tragedy struck her life and made her sorrow, quite
literally, my business.
Honestly, I did my level best to keep from being assigned to cover
the news of Matagorda County’s first casualty of Operation Iraqi
I felt ill at the thought that I might have to interview this woman
— either over the phone or in person — who was enduring a brand of
anguish that most mothers never have to know.
When people go through hurts in their lives, I try to find a way to
relate to them through my own past experiences, but this was so far
beyond my realm of reality. First, I am not a mother, and, second,
I’ve never lost anyone that I was ever really close to in death.
God had other plans, though.
On Friday morning, I went along with our new reporter just to help
her pick out some photos that the family wanted us to have for our
story and to get photographs of family and friends, if they were
That one seemingly harmless ride-along proved to be a really
life-altering moment for me.
I wondered if we would be seen as the soulless press just wanting
our story and not caring about the family’s privacy.
So I steeled myself to catch heat from my editor for returning with
nothing, because I simply was not willing to press in where I didn’t
I was somewhat taken aback when Mrs. McCormick and her older son
Will explained to us how grateful they were that we had not pushed
them for a story before they were ready.
They were eager to give us access to personal photos, memories and
the newest information they had from the military.
We were seeking a photo, but what they wanted was to give us an
accurate story of David that would properly honor his life and
There was understandable sadness, but not hopelessness.
There was grief, but not despair.
It really is true that the eyes are the windows to the soul.
We as humans can try as hard as we want to put on a brave front or a
happy face, in hopes that people around us will be fooled, but the
eyes never lie.
It was true in this case. Mrs. McCormick seemed sad, maybe a little
exhausted from the load she was carrying in her mind and her heart,
but her eyes told the story of where her hope was.
Her eyes conveyed a peace and serenity — just days after receiving
tragic news —that was obviously not of this world.
There is an old hymn that I grew up singing in church that says, “I
know Whom I have believed in.”
Mrs. McCormick’s belief that her son had not died in vain, that his
eternal destiny was secure and that she would be reunited with him
again — living life as it was always meant to be — was a story that
she told using no words.
Mrs. McCormick’s walk through this terrible loss gives evidence to
the grace that sustains her.
God keeps his promises when we find ourselves in Him.
“Peace that passes all human understanding” comes to visit us when
we aren’t capable of sustaining ourselves through the darkest hours
of our lives.
May 12, 2008
The news of the death of Cpl. David Phillip
McCormick, who was killed in a mortar attack April 28 in
Baghdad, Iraq, served as a wakeup call to the residents of
While we see and read daily news reports of the ongoing conflict
in Iraq, unless we have loved ones serving there, we sometimes
put the reality of the situation in the back of our minds,
letting everyday activities fill our thoughts instead.
Well I, and I am sure most of the county residents, can no
longer do that.
David was the first, and I pray the last, casualty in Iraq from
Matagorda County residents have come together in a show of
support and love for David’s family, honoring a soldier who gave
his life for our country.
Hundreds of supporters were at the airport and lining the
streets Sunday when David’s body was brought home, in a
flag-draped coffin — a symbol of patriotism and a sign of
respect for one of our country’s heroes.
David will be laid to rest Friday with family and friends, and
even those who never knew him but love what he stood for, in
At least two Gold Star Mothers plan to attend the funeral,
embracing David’s mother, Anna June, as one of their own —
mothers who have made the ultimate sacrifice of the lives of
their children in service to our country.
I was told today of a visit by Gold Star Mother Lois Winfrey to
Anna June McCormick.
Lois Winfrey’s son, Army Pfc. Johnnie Paul Winfrey, was the
first Vietnam casualty from Matagorda County.
Ms. Winfrey was able to share her memories of her son with Anna
June — a special comfort since her son and Ms. McCormick had
gone to school together.
These two mothers were able to bond over good memories of the
past and, tragically, over the shared position of having lost a
loved one in battle.
The community is continuing to plan ways to honor David and his
family, including hanging thousands of flags around Bay City and
continuing to fly flags at half staff until after the funeral.
We should not let David’s heroism be forgotten when the
ceremonies end and the memorials are no longer evident.
He died for our country and we should honor him by remembering,
by keeping our service men and women still in Iraq in our
thoughts and by praying for their safe return.
To David’s family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May God
May 7, 2008
Final Journey May 4
Final Journey May 9