Family mourns as battle continues

July 22
July 22, 2008
Medric J. "Spud" Auenson
July 24, 2008

Our deep sympathy here at the Tri-Parish Times goes out to the family of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Daniel Dupre of Lockport, who was killed last week while on duty in Ramadi, Iraq, and buried Monday in Lockport. He was 28, leaving behind a wife and 3-year-old son.

Dupre was a dedicated Marine who was raised in Lockport by his grandmother and joined the military shortly after graduating from Central Lafourche High School in 1998, where he was a member of the school’s Junior ROTC.

We realize a newspaper editorial can offer little comfort to Dupre’s family. The necessity of the U.S. presence in Iraq is a question that can perhaps only be answered in the future by people having the benefit of hindsight. But beyond a doubt, the U.S. presence there has been divisive for the American people, and the rift is illustrated by Dupre’s friends and family members.

A Marine Corps comrade said Dupre died defending the country he loved serving, while his grandmother expressed bitterness toward President Bush. Dupre himself believed the U.S. has no choice but to be in Iraq, according to his widow, Crystal.

Regardless of one’s view, certainly the unanticipated length of the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and the high number of deployments the war has necessitated affected Dupre’s life. He was on his fourth deployment, two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.

Extended deployments are a big factor facing former U.S. Army recruiter Clay Usie, a Houma native who is being featured in an HBO documentary airing Monday night on the military recruitment process.

The documentary follows four Tri-parish area public high school students – two from H.L. Bourgeois High School, one from Terrebonne High School and another from Central Lafourche High School – who were recruited by Usie, a decorated Afghanistan war veteran who is also a Bourgeois graduate.

Usie is being featured in the documentary because he enlisted 72 new recruits between 2003 and 2006 while at the Houma recruiting station, 42 above the national three-year average.

Usie said recruitment was most difficult after six National Guardsmen from Houma were killed on a single day in Iraq in January 2005, but even then young men and women were enlisting.

Dupre’s death and that terrible day in 2005 are stark reminders of what service can entail.