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Corporal David Phillip McCormick

April 10, 1982 - April 28, 2008

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Soldier from Bay City killed in Iraq


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 San Antonio.

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 counter-terrorism.

“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 loyal friend.

“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 dearly.”

Hairell, who is in the U. S. Air Force, said that what happened to his friend is painful, and he plans to attend the funeral.

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, 2008 staff report


IRAQ -- A Bay City soldier was killed during a rocket attack in Iraq this week the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday.


11 News

David P. McCormick

Spc. David P. McCormick died Monday from wounds he suffered after his base in Baghdad came under attack. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 75th Calvary of the 101st Airborne Division.

McCormick grew up in the Matagorda County town of Bay City, but was living in Fresno in Fort Bend County when he enlisted, according to Army records.


Flags lowered in Matagorda to honor fallen warrior

BAY 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 next week.

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,” June said.

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.


Home Again

First soldier from Matagorda County killed in Iraq War flown home


The first 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 members.


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 Sharon Howerton is the general manager for the Matagorda Advocate. Contact her at or 979-244-1330.


Residents to honor McCormick

By Heather Menzies

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 procession route.

“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 respect.

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 for David.

“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 circuit television.

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 Scholarship Fund.

“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


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 their support.

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 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 experience.”

“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 said.

“The words should be a source of pride and comfort for those close to David.”

“ ‘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 Iraq.

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 Gilman.

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 death.

“The terrorists were successful only in removing David physically,” Will said.

“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 Freedom.

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 willing.

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 belong.

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 legacy.

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

Soldier's death a reminder of nation at war


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 Matagorda County.

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 the county.

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 attendance.

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 bless you.

, May 7, 2008


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