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Marine Lance Cpl. David Edward Owens Jr.

Died April 12, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Winchester, Va.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed after receiving wounds in action in central Iraq.

David Owens played football, ran track and excelled at wrestling at James Wood High School in Winchester, Va. In his senior year, he placed fourth in the Commonwealth District Wrestling Tournament and sixth in the Northwest Region.

After graduation in 2000, Owens joined the Marines. He hoped that it would lead to a career as a state trooper.

In an interview with the local newspaper, The Winchester Star, his mother, Debbie Owens, said she had scrutinized the television news after the war began, trying to catch a glimpse of her 20-year-old son. She had felt great sympathy for parents who lost a child in the war.

But “when it hits home, it’s a different ball game,” she said. “Our whole life was centered around him.”

Owens was shot in the chest April 12 during a gun battle in Baghdad. He died on the way to the hospital, Marine officials told his family.

Emily Tingle, whose sister went to school with Owens, remembered him as a good athlete and a “quiet, decent guy. He will be considered a hero in our town.”

Jaye Copp, the high school’s head wrestling coach, said Owens was “a good team man. He did well, even surpassed his own ability, by giving it all he had. He had a good sense of humor and he was just a good, gentle person. This town was proud of him before he went and we’re even prouder of him now.”

Owens is survived by his parents, Debbie and David Owens.

— USA Today, Associated Press

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